Communication is essential no matter what career you find yourself in, but it’s especially crucial for those in the business world. Tomorrow’s accountants can learn the fundamentals of communication in order to be successful in their career and stay relevant in this ever-growing industry.
What Constitutes Effective Communication?
Having good communication skills means relaying your message to others in the clearest, most concise form possible. An accountant who exhibits poor communication can reflect negatively on the firm or company they are representing. A lack of communication can also lead to frustrated or even lost clientele.
In the worst-case scenario, an unclear message can result in a negative relationship between the accounting firm and its client.
So, what does it take to communicate effectively? In simple terms, good communication considers professionalism, simplicity, visuals, tone of voice, audience, humor, and clarity. It’s about so much more than the words you use, as it includes a set of nonverbal skills, stress management, and engaged listening. You can perfect your communication skills in several ways, including the following.
Teamwork is as important at work as it is in school. If you are enrolled in an online bachelor’s of accounting degree program, for example, you will likely experience the power of communication and collaboration firsthand. As a newly hired accountant, it’s important to continue the tailoring of your communication by seeking out mentorships and exhibiting confidence from the very first day on the job.
On-the-job learning is just as important, if not more so. Always listen to your colleagues and don’t be afraid to ask questions for clarification. Encourage others to communicate with you so that you can better understand the firm’s procedures and expectations. Make your willingness to learn one of the first things co-workers, supervisors, and clients see in you.
Mindful Body Language
Communication is so much more than the written (or typed) word. Acting out your message is a powerful way to communicate to your team and leave a lasting impression. Think of one of your favorite TED talks or other presentations. Effective speakers never stand still reciting boring facts. They infuse personality into their speech with body language and the right tone of voice.
Gestures, eye movement, posture, and facial expressions are all part of communicating with body language. Nonverbal communication can complement verbal communication and help your audience remember your message. Maintaining eye contact is another way to gain a reputation not only as a skillful communicator, but also as a good listener.
It is also important to be mindful of aggressive or indifferent types of body language, such as crossing your arms, furrowing your brows, and yawning in professional social situations.
Appropriate Tone of Voice
Your professional tone of voice consists of both the spoken and the written word. No matter whether you’re typing an email, responding to a text, or giving a presentation, tone of voice can communicate more than you intend it to.
When communicating via text or email, you should be concise and informative while also adding a little of your own personality. A message that’s too informal and nontechnical can quickly cause a loss of interest, but one that’s overly technical and verbose can come across as high-pressured and uninspired.
The right tone of voice will make you relatable and help you stand out in a competitive industry. Plus, with the latest accounting technology trends set to replace face-to-face communication, the tone of your written word is more important than ever.
To be articulate, you should be able to communicate clearly and in a manner that is easily understood. If you’re prone to mumbling, speaking softly, or talking too quickly, you’ll find it more difficult to communicate with your team. Not being able to articulate your message also shows a lack of confidence.
You can develop better articulation by practicing just 15 minutes a day until your speech habits improve. Pay attention to your voice pitch, projection, vocabulary, rhythm, sentence variation, speed, and use of pauses. It’s helpful to record yourself to see which areas require the most improvement.
Communication goes both ways; speaking and listening are equally important. As an accountant, you’ll need to encourage feedback not only to ensure everyone understands the message, but also to measure how effective your communication is.
When speaking with clients, encouraging feedback is an important way to keep them feeling engaged in the process. During presentations, asking for feedback makes your audience feel appreciated. When you ask your boss for feedback, you’re seen as being willing to learn and accept other ideas. You’re also more likely to share innovative ideas with colleagues, giving you the reputation of being a team player.
Whether you’ve spoken to a client, supervisor, or colleague, always be appreciative of their time and input. It’s a simple courtesy that can earn you an enormous amount of respect.
Being appreciative as a recent grad or new hire makes you approachable and trustworthy. And, when combined with other effective communication skills, appreciation will help get you further up the career ladder.
In your first accounting job, you may encounter situations that you feel unprepared for. Before you act on your emotions, take a moment to calm down. Continuing the conversation while you’re emotionally charged will only worsen the situation, and it could possibly give you a negative reputation in the industry.
Learn to develop healthy responses to conversations that tend to make you feel emotional. You might try nodding your head in acceptance, even if you disagree with a client’s demands. Other ways to manage certain stressors include getting support from friends or family, speaking with your supervisor, and utilizing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and taking a walk on your lunch breaks.
As you can see, effective communication is so much more than speaking clearly. When you’re dealing with clients, investors, managers, and other professionals, being clear, concise, memorable, and positive can get you further in the business world than you ever realized.
As you work toward your Bachelor of Science in Accounting degree, mastering these communication skills can enhance your skill set and put you well on your way to a rewarding career in the business world. If you are interested in learning more about pursuing a BS in Accounting degree, visit Maryville University online today.