In all my work, both as a leader and as a facilitator and coach, I constantly reinforce the message that the only real tool that leaders have at their disposal is their ability to communicate effectively.
Effective communication can unlock the following benefits:
- Building relationships – Purposeful communication plays a prominent role in developing long-lasting employee motivation and improved relationships which are vital to organisational health and success.
- Improving productivity – Things will go smoothly when everyone is on the same page i.e. understanding the goals and direction the organisation is taking.
- Employees feeling valued – Many employees complain about how they are just a number. Taking the time to really connect with your audience by adding emotion and personality to communication will reverse this complaint. Remember this when providing recognition or when it involves a sensitive issue. Express your concerns about their feelings so they know you care.
Seven ways to improve communication
I recommend the following ways to reduce the communication barriers that effectively blind us to meaning and comprehension in order to improve communication:
- Understand how and why others see things differently to you. Try to predict the feelings and attitude of the receiver.
- Get feedback from the receiver. Ask how they understand the message so that you can clarify if necessary.
- Communicate face-to-face as often as possible to allow for questions and for you to see their body language.
- Use language that fits the audience. Using complicated language can confuse listeners and make them feel inadequate.
- Use the right communication channel. We are rapidly losing the art of conversation. Do not add to this problem by using the wrong channel for your communication.
- Communicate with integrity and honesty. You can only effectively communicate when the receiver trusts what you say as well as how you listen to them and act on the conversation.
- Make it easy for others to listen to you. Apply a conversational communication style. Make your point quickly, succinctly and with conviction. It is essential to recognise that you are the message. People respond to the way you show up and lead – not just to your words.
Learning how to lead and communicate takes conscious effort that must be learned and practiced daily. Leadership and communication are symbiotic.
Poor communication skills cause a range of problems in organisations, such as unnecessary employee turnover, poor customer service, diminished productivity, silo mentality and a lack of focus are but a few. Following the tips above will help you to build a positive culture in your business for sustained success.