In order to be successful as an entrepreneur, one needs an array of competencies. However one seems to be fundamental as it cuts across most skills and is essential to succeed in any role.
It is communication, which in fact is a metacompetence required for presentations, negotiation, collaboration and a number of other competencies. It is a bridge that links a lot of entrepreneurial skills, which are to a large extent about communication. In which ones is it most visible?
Doing business or leading projects is about cooperation. To make sure a team works together and there is enough support from external stakeholders, the vision, objectives and progress have to be communicated in a clear, transparent, and oftentimes, persuasive way. Convincing others, exchanging opinions and moderating discussions are all part of the entrepreneurial toolkit.
Going forward, motivation is another competence built on communication. How well the big picture is described to the team, will influence their engagement. Motivation is also about timely and constructive feedback, essential for the personal growth and achievement. Positive feedback should be given regularly, not to make an impression that good performance is taken for granted. Areas for improvement should be signalled in such a way that the person in question perceives them as a gift rather than demotivating criticism.
Last but not least, the commercial success of an enterprise depends on how well what they offer is marketed and sold. Brand communication, sales pitches and describing the product or service requires specific communication skills. It is about the ability to appeal to emotions and senses but also gathering information from the customers. Most recently the repertoire of marketing communication has discovered the power of metaphors and storytelling as effective tools to get the message across.
At University of Humanities and Economics in Łódź we make sure the students are aware of the importance of communication in both private and business context. In the first semester they discover how to better understand each other and overcome barriers, they become sensitive to non-verbal communication cues and learn how to communicate in an assertive way. All in all, it is about building a bridge so that we can get to the other person with the message, offer or a good word.
Images sources: personal sources