Important Steps to Clear and Effective Communication.
It is simply impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator. I hope you noticed the previous sentence didn’t refer to being a great talker – big difference. The key to becoming a skilful communicator is rarely found in what has been taught in the world of academia. From our earliest days in the classroom, we are trained to focus on enunciation, vocabulary, presence, delivery, grammar, syntax and the like. In other words, we are taught to focus on ourselves. While I don’t mean to belittle these things as they’re important to learn, it’s the more subtle elements of communication rarely taught in the classroom (the elements that focus on others), which leaders desperately need to learn. In today’s column, I’ll share a few of the communication traits, which if used consistently, will help you achieve better communication results.
- Stay on Message: Be clear exactly what ideas you are trying to express or the message you are trying to convey to the other person or group. What do you most want them to understand?
- Make It a Two-Way Conversation: Try to really hear and understand where others are coming from. What are they trying to say? What messages are they trying to get across to you? Ask yourself, “Do I really understand them?” Pay special attention not just to what they are saying, but to what isn’t being said.
- Making Sense Of It All: Always ask yourself, “Does what I’m saying make sense? Does the feedback I’m receiving make sense? What is the perspective they are trying to get across? Does it make sense that they have this perspective?” When both parties in the conversation are truly able to say they understand or that “it makes sense,” clear and effective communication has been achieved.
- You’re Responsible for Any Failure to Communicate: Remember, as the primary communicator you are 100% responsible for the other person’s understanding of the communication. In other words, if you don’t feel that you are being understood, you have not completed the job of communicating. You must re-communicate your position to ensure that you’ve been properly heard.
- Can You Hear Them Now?: Do you really hear what others are saying? To really listen requires your full attention and being able to feedback to them exactly what you have heard them say.
- Repetition, Repetition, Repetition: An equally effective way to make sure others understand exactly what you are communicating is to ask them to repeat back their interpretation of what has been said or asked of them. In order to guarantee the results or reaction you want, you need to make sure that your audience can give you a clear explanation of what is being required of them.
- Respect Your Audience as You Respect Yourself: To be a clear and effective communicator, you must first recognise that your message is not just about you or what you want. It’s about “what’s in it for the audience.” You must both believe in your message and sincerely care about the needs and the unique perspectives of those you are communicating to if you truly want to be heard. After all, they took the time and trouble to hear what you have to say, so it’s equally important to recognise and respect that we each have different perspectives based on our positions, motivations, and needs.