Communication is an essential part of human interaction. Even if your job is technical, you need to communicate well. In fact, good communication should be your top priority.
Here are five ways finance managers can learn to communicate better.
It may be cliché, but practice really does make perfect.
If you’re nervous about a presentation, practice in front of your friends and family. It may seem silly, but even setting up your stuffed animals as an audience can help.
Ask people who don’t work in finance to listen.
Unless you work in a bank or the finance sector, be aware that most people aren’t familiar with the terminology. Use simpler language. Ask if people don’t understand.
Find ways to explain finance terms and concepts.
Make things easy for people to understand. Just don’t dumb things down.
People don’t like being talked to like children.
They also don’t like feeling like idiots. Respect your audience.
Ask them for feedback. See if there is anything you could do better next time.
Be prepared for negative as well as positive feedback.
People don’t communicate the same everywhere.
The world is full of hundreds of languages. Among those languages there is a great deal of variation.
Just think about the differences between British and American English!
Travel teaches you to learn new ways of communication.
Visit conferences for other people in the field.
Ask them how they communicate finance terms.
Even going on a city tour can teach you a lot about communication.
Learning a language will push you out of your comfort zone.
It will teach you a lot about your own language as well.
Ask strangers what financial terms they know and are familiar with.
This will give you a good idea as to what the average person knows about finance. See if a stranger is willing to hear your presentation and give you feedback.
Most people are more than excited to learn new things.
You can never know too much.
Take the time to read the financial papers.
Read books that are designed for ordinary audiences.
Finance is a field in which you constantly need to stay up to date.
You need to know what is happening in the world.
Finance constantly changes. You need to make sure that your presentation is current and doesn’t have outdated data.
Be familiar with the biggest news stories.
Use these stories as starting points for a conversation.
Ask your colleagues where they get their news. Read these papers or websites to know what they’re interested in.
Don’t forget to read a fun book every once in a while.
A lot of communication is psychological.
In fact, most of the communication we do is non-verbal.
Take the time to learn about body language. Here is a list of books on body language from Best Books Hub.
Observe the people around you.
You can learn a lot even if you don’t understand their language.
You can normally tell if someone is confused or comfortable.
People need to be comfortable to receive information. Make sure their needs are met before your presentation begins. Ensure that they aren’t afraid to ask questions.
Keep in mind that body language varies from person to person.
People want to be heard.
Listen to their questions and concerns.
Give them your full attention. Make eye contact and don’t interrupt.
Let them know that you care about their concerns.
Listen to what they are actually saying and what they want to know.
Sometimes they might not even have a question. Maybe they just want to talk. As long as it doesn’t interrupt your presentation, let them.
Listen when they want to talk, not when you want to listen.
Finance managers have a reputation for being difficult to talk to. That doesn’t need to be the case.