Do you need to improve your communication? Better communication begins with you. It’s not about more emails, more town halls and more talking at employees. Communication is a conversation with employees.
Communication effectiveness begins with the mindset of “me and you” versus “me and my message” or “what I want to tell you.”
Every leader’s communication style is different. To be authentic, a leader must leverage their unique strengths and capabilities to maximize their communication effectiveness.
Find your voice and use it well. But remember that you have two ears and one mouth which is a hint to listen twice as much as you talk!
Tips for Effective Communication
- Context is King – you cannot assume that anyone knows where you’re coming from if you don’t tell them. We observe a lot of workplace (and project) misunderstanding that comes from failing to make context clear.
- Consistency – create a message manifesto. Document the key and core ideas that need shared. Then when developing different messages (emails, slide presentations, etc.) refer back to the message manifesto to maintain consistency. To maintain consistency, it’s also important to link messages to your overall organizational strategy and values.
- Connection – don’t change your message but adjust your approach to connect with your audience. Remember that different people relate in different ways. Get to know your audience and speak in language that they understand. Start from their perspective and connect where they are back to your message.
- Clarity – use clear and concise language. Remember K.I.S.S.? (Keep It Simple Stupid) KISS your audience with clarity!
- Create a listening loop – leaders must have mechanisms to listen as well as talk. Whether this is skip level meetings or intentional internal networks (we’ve helped leaders build culture champion networks to formalize the informal grapevine and get better feedback) leaders must listen at all levels in their organization.
A great communicator begins from the perspective of the audience. They give clear, consistent messages that contain the context needed to understand the why. Through communication a leader reinforces the vision, champions change, transfers ideas, aligns expectations and inspires action. Leaders give hope and leaders give clarity. Great leaders are great communicators.