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3 Communication Tips for Business Analysis Professionals

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect the perspectives of IIBA.
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The term "business communication" is loaded, as there are many ways to communicate with business stakeholders and immediate colleagues. When people think of communication, they often visualize two people talking. That’s how our mind is trained.

But business communication also captures email exchanges, instant messages, gestures, body language, and tone, among many other things.

That’s a lot to cover, so let's break this into smaller pieces and adopt a more focused approach to understand it better. While this article initially covers business communication, it will ultimately lead us to the essential communication skills required for business analysis professionals.

1. Keep It Brief

Kicking things off is everyone's favourite pastime: email writing. Ever find yourself agonizing over the perfect subject line or crafting the ideal sign-off? Now, imagine needing to fire off that first email to a senior manager.

Even though the email is a simple request, there are many nuances to consider if you're struggling with communication. You might be concerned that won’t get a response from someone you’ve barely talked to. The best approach is to start with a brief introduction, mention your team, and provide context to pique their interest. Then, conclude with an invitation for questions or thoughts.

This approach not only clarifies your purpose for contacting the senior manager but also initiates a meaningful interaction, supporting the growth of your professional network.

On the other hand, the usefulness of emails can often be limited. For instance, you've already messaged someone on chat about a small question, but they haven't responded for a couple of hours. What should you do in this situation?

Let's break it down into urgent and non-urgent scenarios. If it's urgent, you can mention the urgency and timeframe in the chat message itself. However, if it's not urgent and you haven't received a response within a minute or two, should you email them and tag their supervisors or managers?

I wouldn't recommend that. People generally don't like being chased. Building trust and relationships with your peers is important in any organization or team. Immediately sending an email after a chat message might irritate them, as they could be busy with work. It's crucial to be mindful of when to send emails and how they're worded.

2. Stay Engaged

Let's discuss acknowledging gestures when communicating with your team or stakeholders while working remotely. If you regularly work remotely, have you ever felt like you're just talking to a screen, with no one really listening on the other side?

It's important to ensure engagement, even in virtual meetings. A simple acknowledgment like "Yes" or "Hmm" can make a big difference. It shows that you're actively participating and listening, fostering a sense of connection despite the virtual setting.

Similarly, when communicating in person, maintaining eye contact is essential. It demonstrates attentiveness and respect for the speaker. Whether you're interacting with internal or external stakeholders, active listening and engagement are crucial.

3. Build Trust

When I think of a business analysis professional, I always imagine someone deeply involved with external stakeholders, typically clients. These interactions require a heightened level of caution, articulation, and eloquence—knowing what, how, and when to communicate is critical.

Mastering this skill is particularly important because the client may not know you well, especially if it's your first time working together. The foundation here is trust-building.

Imagine a scenario where work arrives a day before a deadline due to a client-side delay. Would a blunt refusal citing the tight timeline be enough? Unlikely. A more effective approach involves acknowledging the deadline, expressing gratitude for the extension, and assuring quality despite the delay.

Framing it as a collaborative effort with a shared commitment to maintaining quality conveys professionalism and cooperation.

In today's fast-paced world, words like “thank you,” “please,” and “sorry” are often overlooked. Yet they hold significant value in fostering positive relationships. It's also essential to acknowledge and address genuine, unintentional mistakes with humility and a commitment to finding solutions.

Based on my senior leadership experience, regardless of your role, you have the freedom to disagree or decline.

That said, it's vital to express yourself respectfully and diplomatically, because these types of responses never backfire. Furthermore, there should be an open environment where you can freely share your thoughts. You should always feel empowered to voice your opinions while maintaining respect and courtesy.

Want to learn more about the foundational skills, tasks, techniques, and personal characteristics necessary to succeed as a business analysis professional? Explore IIBA’s Business Analysis Competency Model today.  

About the Author
Author (3).jpg

Vruti S. Trivedi is a Team Lead at Accenture, focusing on business analysis in healthcare. She works closely with clients to find and fix issues, making operations run smoother. Her goal is to create tailored solutions for better results.

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