Virtually every company we’ve worked with has had feedback from their employees that they need to improve communication.
Better communication begins with leaders. It’s not about more emails, more town halls and more talking at employees. Communication is a conversation with employees.
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 reminder 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.
- Consistency – create a message map. Capture the key and core ideas that need shared. Then repeat, repeat, repeat.The map ensures that everyone knows the direction and is oriented about how this message connects to everything else going on in the organization. The heart of your message must remain consistent but the method of delivery may vary. To maintain consistency, it’s also important to link messages to your 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.? 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 networks (we’ve helped leaders build change 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.