Improving Written and Verbal Communication

You may not have given a lot of thought to it, but your oral and written
communication abilities have a tremendous effect on your professional success.
In today’s credit industry, communication skills are as important as technical
know-how: They influence how others perceive you as well as your ability to
accomplish tasks. In fact, members of the Financial Leadership Council—a
distinguished group of finance executives convened by Robert Half
International—recently identified communication skills as an essential
interpersonal ability for today’s finance and credit professionals.

The council—made up of executives from business and private industry, public
accounting, academia and professional associations—recently met to discuss
current and future challenges in these fields and brainstorm potential
solutions. Following are some tips from the council on mastering oral and
written exchanges as highlighted in an extensive report, Charting the Future
of the Accounting, Finance and Audit Professions
:

  • Plan ahead. Before writing a report or email, consider what
    you’d like your message to accomplish. What should recipients feel, think and do
    after they read it? The response you receive—or don’t receive—is a great way to
    measure your communication effectiveness. If you don’t get your intended
    results, study the message to pinpoint where you may have been unclear.
  • Spelling counts. Your electronic messages can be easily
    forwarded to others, so be sure that your communications are professional and
    polished. Though IM and email tend to encourage informality, it’s still
    essential to adhere to punctuation, spelling and grammatical rules. Also, avoid
    any acronyms that some members of your audience might not understand.
  • Find a mentor. Even if you feel confident in your
    abilities, a more seasoned professional can help you take written messages and
    oral presentations to the next level. Seek a mentor who is known for his or her
    diplomacy and effective communication skills. Such a person can be invaluable in
    helping you determine the styles and avenues that are consistent with the
    culture of your particular organization. You can learn, for example, when it’s
    best to communicate via email or when a personal or telephone meeting would be
    most appropriate.
  • Volunteer for presentations. The most effective
    professionals can communicate confidently with clients as with colleagues. To
    work on these skills, you could volunteer to make presentations at work, join a
    group such as Toastmasters or take on a speaking role within your local industry
    association.

Source: Robert Half Finance and Accounting and Accountemps

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