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Communication Keys to Building a Rapport

Managers and leaders of companies small and large rely on these three elements of communication as they build and maintain strong bonds with employees:

° Chemistry. While it is no substitute for a thorough background check on a promising job applicant, an intuitive feeling of camaraderie is important. Keep a balance of compassion and purpose in your communication.

° Clarity. Clear and upfront expectations build on the relationship foundation. Agreeing on detailed work assignment with exact specifications saves misunderstanding a later. Don’t hesitate to discuss the tasks drawbacks too. Staff members who have a clear picture of the task won’t be taken aback by its downside.

° Consistency. Communication isn’t something you can schedule for once a day, week or month. Constant communication keeps small issues from smoldering and eventually flaring up. Regularly scheduled meetings, combined with daily contact via phone, e-mail, chat or casual conversation, ensures adherence to expectations and performance standards as well as job satisfaction. And when you build the habit of constant and honest communication, employees won’t hesitate to draw your attention to simmering issues that could develop into major problems.

Always Recognize the Difference in Assertiveness and Aggressive

You want to be seen as sure and strong communicator. Those traits are associated with leadership skills in the workplace. Still, how do you balance the need to assert yourself with your need to get along with the people you work with? The difference between being assertive and being aggressive can be small.

° Assertive means putting your ideas forward positively and confidently even in the face of opposition.

° Aggressive means introducing your ideas in a combat-ready state.

How can you tell the difference? If you are being aggressive, your listeners will remain silent after you speak or they will immediately begin arguing with you. When you are being assertive, people respond thoughtfully, ask questions and challenge you—but you will rarely see them square their shoulders or lift their chins.

Remember these tips as you hone your business communications skills.


Shakira M. Brown is an award-winning Professional Branding & Business Communication Speaker ( and former network television broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of SMB Strategic Media LLC (, a firm that helps businesses get to the heart of why the customers/clients buy their goods and service helping them clarify their message via strategic brand messaging. Shakira is also the lead marketing consultant for America’s Small Business Development Center at The College of New Jersey. She has won over 13 industry awards in various disciplines for her work. Shakira frequently shares her expertise at national conferences and corporate workshops as well as with the media such as American Express Open, Crain’s Chicago, PR Week, Brand Week, Smart Money and she is also a contributing writer for Black

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