Communicating to Profit

Fio Capital >  Marketing & Communication

Communicating to Profit


Published Monday, 12 February 2024, 12:00 PM SAST

Are you a good communicator?

Being able to communicate effectively is one of the most important life skills to learn. Communication itself is defined as transferring information to produce greater understanding.

It can be done vocally (through verbal exchanges), through written media (books, websites, and magazines), visually (using graphs, charts, and maps), or non-verbally (body language, gestures, pitch of voice, and tone). All of these means of communication skills are essential Soft Skills that are vital for a successful Career.


Have some of your ideas and projects you were working on, not go to plan or even perhaps failed miserably? Have you ever thought that better communication skills could have provided you with a better outcome or result?

NB: 9 out 10 times relationships (business and personal) fail due to weak or bad communication in one form or another.

Good communication builds trust and no communication destroys trust. It’s always a two way street in life, but fixing the blame instead of the problem is not good communication skills.


For too long, many African countries have been overly reliant on a small number of commodities, such as petroleum products, minerals, and agricultural products. This for example, has left their economies vulnerable to fluctuations in global prices and demand. By fostering entrepreneurship, African governments and businesses are encouraging the development of new industries and sectors, which can help to reduce this dependence on a narrow range of products.

Finally, entrepreneurship promotes innovation and creativity across the continent. By encouraging individuals to develop their own businesses, African countries are creating a culture of innovation and experimentation. This, in turn, can lead to the development of new products and services that have the potential to transform entire industries.

The Importance of Communication Skills

Having strong communication skills aids in all aspects of life – from professional life to personal life and everything that falls in between. From a business standpoint, all transactions result from communication. Good communication skills are essential to allow others and yourself to understand information more accurately and quickly.

In contrast, poor communication skills lead to frequent misunderstandings and frustration. In a 2016 LinkedIn survey conducted in the United States, communication topped the list of the most sought-after soft skills among employers.


How good are your communication skills?

The secret to success (and, the path to failure) is never that black and white. However, there is one critical leadership skill that can make the difference between whether a project, plan, or business sinks or swims.

Effective communication is what your project needs to win the business Olympics. So, whether you’re building an app or starting your own marketing business, this is a leadership skill you’ll want to continually build on. Everything from how the team talks with one another. How you share your vision and progress. It all counts.

What are communication skills?

You’ll have seen a variation of this on a job advert before: ‘must be able to expertly communicate with colleagues at all levels’. It’s clear that the job poster is talking about communication skills. Though, if you unpick the request further it means at least three things.

  • Who you communicate with. So your peers, stakeholders, directors, clients, etc.
  • What you communicate–and how much detail. Anything from project progress to eCommerce reporting–depending on your role and/or industry.
  • The frequency with which you communicate. This will also vary by team, company, and boss. For example, one boss might only need occasional check-ins. Another boss might want or need more regular updates.

How to improve your communication skills

1. Listen to others

People often plan their response before the person speaking has finished doing so. Try and train yourself to listen much harder.

2. Keep a check on your body language

Do you cross your arms when someone’s speaking? You could give off a feeling of putting barriers up. Do you slouch? A strong, straight posture commands attention. Non-verbal communication can give away a lot more than you think. It’s also a really good way of reading others’ reactions.

3. Tailor your communication to your audience

Business jargon – acronyms, abbreviations etc – might be okay internally. However, if someone in the team is new, or you’re talking to someone outside the business you’ll need to rethink.

Your degree of casualness is also something to consider. For example, how you greet or communicate with a Director may differ from how you speak with the person you sit next to every day. This applies to interviews and the tone of voice you use in your written communication too. Think about how different you say things at the interview to how you might chat amongst friends at a bar. It’s different. Recognize the different communication needs of each environment. It’s a great way to work out what works best, where.

Emails, texts, and, in particular, instant messaging can bring communication challenges. If you feel your words are too casual an email, text, or message–they probably are. For example, it’s always better to say ‘Hello’ rather than ‘Hey!’ in a text or email if you’re unsure.


4. Have a strategy for office communication tools

Think about how you can best use email and instant messenger. And, of course, who you contact on which channel might be something to consider too. A boss might be more traditional and expect an email over an instant message–or the other way around.

Often, instant messaging platforms, like Slack, are good for quick questions. You might use email more for handing over deliverables or following up with new clients. Communicate with others to see if there’s a way your business or team uses the different channels. If not, you’ve got free range to use them as work for you best. Don’t forget–sometimes it’s just better to pick up the phone.

5. Take better notes

Live notes—where you write down exactly what people say in a meeting is a great way of remembering what people said. Yet, they’re quite cumbersome to re-read and it can be hard to keep up typing as fast as people speak or switch topics.

But… do write things down! Everyone is busy juggling multiple tasks. Jot down short, action-based notes so you don’t forget anything. Use bullet points. Actively asking for a summary and confirmation of actions at the end of meetings is good practice too.

6. Honest communication wins in tricky situations

Business isn’t business without a few plot twists and difficult decisions. A number of important communication skills will help you navigate challenges, particularly:

  • Honesty
  • Professional
  • Treating others as equals
Let’s look at a couple of real-world examples where these apply.
  • Conflict within teams. You might find that you’re the person in the middle, or are the manager looking for creative solutions. Communicating in an open, professional way is a must in either situation.
  • You find yourself with multiple job offers. First, what a great position to be in. Yet, it can be overwhelming deciding what to do, especially when you feel the need to be prompt in replying to hiring managers. Chatting to friends and family and making a list of pros and cons for each offer will help. The important thing, when you do reach a decision, is to communicate this with honesty, diplomacy, respect, and gratitude for each offer.

Effective communication is a skill that most people, especially those in a position to influence others, should learn to cultivate. Most people think that having solid communication skills means being a great speaker, but it’s also about learning to listen, watching body language and interpreting the gaps in a conversation.

Here are seven powerful ways to build your communication skills:

Be concise and clear. Many people say what they want to say then repeat themselves over and over again. Understand that you were likely heard the first time—and if people aren’t listening it doesn’t matter how often you say something. It’s always more effective to be concise and clear. Honour the gift of people’s time by getting to your point quickly and clearly.

Be thoughtful and considerate. Be mindful of not dominating the conversation. When you speak, pause to let others ask you questions, and ask them questions in turn. Don’t let what should be a dialogue turn into a monologue.

Be attentive and observant. A great communicator pays attention not only to what is being said but also to the nonverbal cues people send. It’s important to understand the things that aren’t said.

Be understanding and curious. People are often too quick to reply when they listen to someone else, which leads to shallow responses. When someone is speaking, take the time to understand and ask questions. Listen to truly hear, not to pass the time until you can talk again, and wait until the person finishes speaking before you reply.

Be present and available. Don’t bring up past problems or irrelevant side issues; stay focused on the current topic or situation. And especially if the conversation is tense, look for ways to keep things positive instead of adding fuel to the fire.


Be calm and collected. If you feel angry or frustrated, avoid saying something you’ll later regret by making sure you’re calm and in charge of yourself before you speak. Don’t allow your emotions to overtake the conversation.

Be positive and optimistic. No one likes to communicate with someone who’s negative and complaining. Even if the issues are thorny, try to think of positive and affirmative ways to communicate. You can talk about problems or talk about solutions—the choice is yours.

To be a truly effective communicator, it’s important to remember that we’re all different in the way we perceive the world. Use your own understanding as a guide when you listen to others, and always be mindful of what you say and how others will perceive it.

Overcoming Entrepreneurship Challenges in Africa

Of course, there are challenges that need to be overcome in order to fully realise the potential of entrepreneurship in Africa. Access to finance remains a major issue for many entrepreneurs, particularly those operating in more remote or rural areas. There is also a need for greater support and mentoring for those who are just starting out in business, as well as for more established entrepreneurs who are looking to scale up their operations. Fio Capital provides these crucial services and more.

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