It's All In How You Say ItJun 09, 2021
Communication is a key part of effective leadership.
Top leaders have practiced and mastered the skills that enable them to communicate to inform, inspire, and encourage. But communication is a two-way street. A strong leader also knows how to actively listen, to find out what motivates their team. Understanding this motivation, you can tailor your communication style to ensure your message is clearly presented and gain buy-in to your priorities.
As a leader, you need to:
1. Learn to listen. Top leaders know that listening is a crucial part of communication. Learn to love listening and engage in the stories of others. Practice retelling the person’s story in your mind, to pick up the small details of the conversation. Multi-tasking is overrated, and when you’re having a conversation, be in the present. Put away your phone, don’t glance at your computer, and give the person your full attention.
Everyone wants to be heard. Others will notice that you’re listening to them and will go away from your conversations thinking what a great communicator you are when all you did was listen.
2. Avoid slang and watch out for those acronyms. It’s normal to use slang or other types of informal language while talking to friends or family. However, business usually requires a more formal language set. Pay attention to who you’re talking to and make the necessary adjustments. Slang, acronyms, and informalities can also make some people feel uncomfortable, especially if they’re not familiar with them. You need to be aware of your surroundings.
As a new manager, I was in a leadership meeting where every other word was an acronym. I wrote them all down to ask about later, but as an employee, I felt like an outsider and gained very little from the meeting. Don’t assume everyone knows what you know. As a leader, you need to weave in what you’re talking about without having others feeling excluded.
3. Focus on being brief. Top leaders know that you don’t have to make a long speech to be effective. Some people do like to talk just to hear themselves talk. A strong leader knows the importance of words and how to use them to get their point across efficiently and positively. People appreciate brief conversations and respect others who don’t go off on tangents.
However, ensure you’re still providing enough information while you talk. You don’t want to be vague or miss important details. This skill may take time to develop, so practice it often. The next time you have a conversation, try to get your point across with less talking. Try to summarize the important parts and only focus on them while you talk.
4. Pay attention to other’s emotions. When you talk, take note of how the other person is reacting. Words are powerful, and communication can affect people in many different ways. Look at things from the other person’s point of view without criticism or judgment.
5. Be a confident communicator. Communication is easier when you have confidence in your message and confidence in your delivery. Confident communicators know their value and worth, but they’re also respectful of others.
Confident communicators are interesting, but they also share interesting information with others. They focus on innovation and new ideas that give people a spark.
You can learn to communicate more effectively by following these tips from top leaders. Look at the leaders around you. How do they communicate? Do they communicate well or poorly? What lessons can you take from both?
Like anything, communication effectively requires patience and practice. You’ll have many opportunities each day to practice communicating. Every time you have a conversation with anyone is an opportunity to practice a little more.
Be fearless in your communication!