Communicating isn’t the objective in business or life. The objective is understanding. Communication is simply the tool to accomplish that.
In one study, poor communication was cited as the cause of poor employee performance 80% of the time. Communicating effectively is what acting as a leader is all about, whatever your position or title.
Words have the extraordinary power to change our thinking, our emotions, to affect our attitudes and alter results. The best idea in the world won’t do anyone any good if no one accepts it. You have to be able to convince others of the advantages or strengths of your ideas. Words are key.
One way to make sure another person has heard and understood what you’ve said is to ask them to repeat I back to you in their own words. Getting feedback is an excellent way to adjust your message and ensure understanding. To increase the odds of future success, why not feed forward—provide people with the information they need to be successful before they undertake something.
Leadership Action Points:
- Focus on the other person
Effective leaders help their audience answer the question, “What does this mean to me,” by making it easy for them to grasp the message’s impact.
- Simplify the message
People who act effectively as leaders boil down the details. They make the world easy for others to understand. Effective leaders harness the power of the sound bite in an effort to make concepts easy to understand and repeat.
- Entertain to engage
To make yourself heard and understood, you must find a way to grab your audience’s attention. You can’t bore people into action. So try entertaining them instead.
Read the last post in this series: Power with People