Humans are a social being. We cannot remain isolated. We live in communities. Living in society is not enough. We also interact with each other. This communication is essentially for your survival. While interacting with each other we maintain certain ethics. Similarly, business also need to communicate. The importance of ethical communication in business is even more. Good communication skills may make or break a deal. So, lets learn about some basic principles of ethical communication.
Significance of Ethical Communication
- An open interaction between businesses, its employees and the clients lays the foundation of building mutual trust.
- Providing an environment, open to different thoughts is mandatory for growth.
- An enterprise can not function without clear communication. A lack of proper communication may hinder the growth of any project. Open communication ensures smooth functioning and no breakage of links.
- Businesses are responsible for their words. These words have a far reach. With this great power comes great responsibility. One need to keep in mind certain ethics before conveying anything to the crowd.
- The predicament of misinterpretation may be the soul reason for the downfall of an empire.
- Misunderstanding are easy to create but arduous to rectify. Without proper communication between the company and it’s members the outcome will never be a pleasant one.
- Trust is the core of any relationship. A strong relationship demands sincerity. For any successful business venture ethics are obligatory.
Lack of Ethical Communication Leading to failure
Punjab National Bank was coerced into shutting down approximately 200 to 300 branches or relocating them. This was the aftermath of the Nirav Modi fraud.
The bank alleged two of it’s employees for persuading the scam. This is an epitome of how unethical communication can hamper the reputation of even the top enterprises.
15 Principles of Ethical Communication
- Learn to listen
There is a famous story of three dolls. They were exactly similar in appearance. King Raghavendra was asked to find the difference between them. He measured all aspects of the dolls but couldn’t find any difference. He was getting more and more curious. He constantly tried to find what was missing. But he failed miserably. Then a wise woman broke the code. The 1st doll had holes in one ear and mouth. She passed what she heard. The second had holes in both the ears. She listened from one ear and passed from the other. The third had hole in only one ear. She was considered the wisest because she was a good listener.
What I conclude from this story is that before speaking, first we need to listen. Learning different perspectives and then analysis is sagacious.
- Wait for your turn
Interrupting in the middle of a conversation is very rude. It won’t be received well. It might even be taken in an offensive way.
Always wait for your turn to come and then present your views.
Even if you don’t agree with the opinions of others, wait patiently for them to complete. May be they have something interesting to convey. Once they are done, present your views for or against them.
Note down the points you found invalid and retrospect them later.
- Speak only when required
Your words are worth millions. So, use them judiciously. Speaking unnecessarily may annoy others. It is considered unintelligible.
Genius minds focus less on speaking and more on working. Let your actions speak louder than your words.
- Speak softly
Shouting or speaking in a loud voice doesn’t make things geniune. It makes things worse. Even if you are right, be polite.
Speaking on the top of your voice is considered unethical.
Speaking softly must not be misunderstood for speaking in a low tone. You pitch should be a depiction of your confidence. Low pitch indicates low self confidence.
- Be audible
Don’t be so polite that people find it difficult to hear. Even if you have a valid argument, nobody is going to take notice if you don’t speak it loud enough. Don’t shout but at least raise your voice to an audible frequency.
Your presence will be valuable only when your voice reaches to others.
- Present the facts correctly
Your opinions matter but the facts are paramount. Don’t tamper with them. Present them as they are. Misinterpretation and manipulation with the facts is not at all ethical.
- Do a little homework
Speaking without prior knowledge of the topic may lead you in trouble. A little homework may help you in enhancing your presentation. Make notes of important points. Practice elocution in front of a mirror. It will be of great help.
Clueless uttering words without research or facts may sound unprofessional.
You would be able to stand against any backlash and counteract if you haven’t got your facts sorted.
- Be short and precise
Speak to the point. Presenting your story in a limited number of words is a talent not possessed by all. Be brief and concise. Only speak what is required. Important piece of information may be missed out by others if you drag things too much. Everyone of us have a limited grasping power. So, try to deliver what is necessary.
What you speak should be understandable by the others. There is no point of showing off your vast knowledge in front of someone who doesn’t understand it. Know where the others stand and modify yourself accordingly.
- You are not Mr. Right
People have different takes on different situations. If you have a point of view, it is most likely that others have theirs too. What you consider best may not be acceptable to the others.
Look at the bigger picture instead of focusing on personal gains.
Assuming yourself to be superior and others as inferior seems discourteous. Rather, look at things with an open mind-set.
You may have a good idea but others may have a great one. So, listen to the views of others and then come on a conclusion.
- Define your limits
In public, one needs to circumspect thoroughly before opening their mouth. Speaking anything and everything is so not advised. You need to draw borders. A few things need to be kept private. Not everything is to be spoken in the public.
Think twice before speaking.
Your statements may backfire. So, be very careful while making bold statements.
- Speak for yourself and not for others
Others have a mouth of their own. They can present their side of the story. You need not take charge for them. Even if you do so, you will be held responsible not the other person.
Remember, when you speak for others you are making a fool of yourself. If the other person chooses to keep mum then you are no one to take stand on his behalf.
- Don’t hesitate
Hesitation is an indication of lack of self confidence. Facing a large number of people may make you nervous. But stick to your job. With experience you will eventually get better. If you are not able to deliver a speech in front if a few people, how do you imagine to be a leader some day?
Don’t be distracted or distract others. Be confident even if you don’t know what to speak. The confidence in your voice covers up for the lack of your awareness. Even if you present wrong facts with confidence, people might considered them true.
- Respect the opinions of others
People don’t think alike. We come from different backgrounds. The difference in cultures and traditions should not be an obstacle in building a healthy relationship.
People treat you the way they want you to treat them. If you want respect then learn to give respect.
- Take stands
If you know you are speaking the truth don’t dither. If you are right, stand up for your. No body will do it on your behalf, if you won’t do it for yourself.
- Include every one
Every one should have an equal say in any decision making process.
Sometimes brightest of ideas come from the strangest minds. If everyone is not given equal opportunity, you may miss on some really good ideas.
How to Promote Ethical Communication?
- Companies may consider organising events or activities to promote interaction.
- Seminars or webinars may be timely conducted. This keeps your team mentally prepared all the time.
- There should be a scope of correction. You can’t expect others to speak freely if you don’t allow them to correct their mistakes.
- Correct others politely. If you come across a conversation which seemed disparaging, don’t immediately get aggressive. Give space for improvement. Try to explain why speaking so is erroneous.
- Don’t belittle others in public. Consult with them privately.
- Employees will follow what they see. Hence, a company must clearly lay down it’s ethics and strictly follow them. There should be no exceptions.
- Regular training sessions should be made mandatory. Your team should excel in communication skills. For this you need to mould them according to your requirements.
Businesses pay lot of attention towards infrastructure, designing, product building, marketing and promotion and less to communication. This carelessness may come in the way of your success. You won’t be able to accomplish any task properly if your team lacks coordination. To align your team in the right direction, clear instructions should be delivered.
Ethical communication is an important aspect of all businesses. You will be able to draw consumers, convince them and sign a deal only if you properly interpret your idea. A great idea is worthless if it can’t be explained to others.