Talking the Talk: 5 Business Communication Tips & Skills for Gig Workers


No matter your industry or area of expertise, you’re bound to spend a lot of your working life talking with other people. This is as true for gig workers as it is for anyone else. Securing jobs, collaborating on projects, and seeking out new opportunities requires constant communication, and when it comes to your livelihood, the stakes are high. Having strong communication skills, like saying the right thing at the right time (and in the right way) can make the difference between being ghosted and receiving the job of your dreams. 

You don’t need to be a natural-born “people person” to acquire top-notch business communication skills and thrive in the gig economy. After taking a few simple measures and making a conscious effort to improve, you’ll have what it takes to talk your way toward a more lucrative career. 

Master the Art of Active Listening

They say that 93% of communication is non-verbal, and nowhere is this more relevant than when you’re listening to someone speak. Simply remaining quiet isn’t enough to qualify as a good listener. Make sure you really focus on what’s being said, and respond to the speaker with your words and facial expressions. Common tricks include nodding your head when you agree, repeating key phrases, and asking questions for clarification. 

Active listening has several benefits. For one thing, you’ll actually remember what the person says. Nobody likes repeating themselves, and you’ll lose a person’s trust if you have to be told everything twice. Paying genuine attention is also a great way to earn the speaker’s respect. When you show you’re committed to understanding the message, the other person has more confidence in your ability to follow through. 

Pay Attention to How Other People Like to Communicate 

Communication always involves other people, and that’s what makes it so difficult. People are often complicated, inconsistent, and confusing. Not everyone likes to communicate the same way, and there’s no way you can please everyone with a one-size-fits-all model. That’s why you need to pay attention, learn how the people around you tend to communicate, and adopt your methods accordingly. 

Maybe you’ve got one client who fills their emails with jokes and banter, while the others stick strictly to business. Perhaps your last boss liked to exchange constant text messages throughout the day, but your new one prefers a single afternoon roundup. If you make note of all these differences, you can maintain better relationships and improve your standing. 

Say People’s Names When You Address Them

Let’s say you run into a client, colleague, or boss, and you greet them with, “Hey, how’s it going?” Sure, it’s not a terrible thing to say, but you can do a lot better by adding a single word: the person’s first name

There are a few benefits to this strategy. First of all, everyone likes to hear their own name. When someone hears you address them directly, they feel that you’re actually connecting with them on a personal level. Repeating the names of your associates is also a fantastic memorization strategy. Forgetting a name can be personally embarrassing and professionally costly, so it’s best to avoid a foot-in-mouth moment. This is a simple and straightforward communication skill that can really help ensure you leave a positive impression.

Proofread Emails and Other Written Messages

Every time you communicate with someone in a professional capacity, you’re reaffirming your competence and dependability. While typos and misspelled words might not seem like a big deal, these types of silly mistakes can chip away at your credibility. The people you work with want to know that you’re diligent and hardworking. Flawless emails and text messages show that you really mean business. 

Never send a written message without a final proofread. Spell checkers are fantastic tools, but they don’t catch everything. Keep your eyes peeled for grammatical mistakes. If you’re not sure about a grammar rule, give it a quick search on Google. This might seem like a lot of extra work, but it’s worth the effort to protect your professional reputation. 

Be Confident, Honest, and Direct

There’s a lot to consider when communicating for your job, but you shouldn’t let all these concerns mess with your head. Ultimately, the most important thing is to speak and write with confidence, integrity, and a clear purpose. Don’t put off uncomfortable conversations or beat around the bush. Stick your chest out, remind yourself that you belong, and say what you need to say. 

The road to success is lined with other people, so it’s vital that you develop and practice strong communication skills effectively. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to improve your habits around communication. With the right attitude and a determination to grow, you should have no trouble developing the communication skills you need.

About the Author: Ben Clabault is a freelance writer from Sandwich, Massachusetts. He has spent much of his adult life traveling through Latin America, and he currently lives with his fiance in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. His areas of expertise include travel, marketing, SaaS, and global cultures. You can find his work on Copyfolio and reach out to him on LinkedIn.

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