When I work with leaders its staggering to me how often i'm asked how to have a tough conversation or how to 'deal with a difficult personality' which is code for i'm not confident to have a tough conversation. There are some pretty staggering statistics when it comes to the impact of communication, or rather the lack of communication. I believe that being able to communicate effectively as a leader can solve almost all of the problems we experience at work Conflict --> talk about it
Missing a deadline --> talk about it
Change coming --> (definitely) talk about it
Need clarification --> talk about it
Looking for some ideas --> talk about it
Someone keeps leaving their mug in the sink --> talk about it
Looking for a promo --> talk about it
Behaviour needs to improve --> talk about it
There's not much that can be solved, or at least resolved when it comes to communication.
I thought I'd share our top 5 levers you can pull when it comes to improving your communication.
To become a good communicator, it's important to be a good listener. sound pretty simple, but how often have you started out listening only to have an answer or response at the ready?
"Listen to understand rather than listen to respond."
As a leader it can be easy to want to solve all the problems and have the solutions, that's not always your job though. By listening to understand rather than respond you can give your people a chance to work out their own solutions and also keep an open mind about what they're talking about.
2. Body Language
Body language accounts for about 55% of how people interpret your message. Which is massive. More than half of your message relies on your non-verbal communication. (videos turned ON anyone?). Using your body language to improving your communication can include things like making eye contact, utilising hand gestures (not too little, not too much), and depending on your message making sure you're 'open'. Arms uncrossed. 3. Confidence
It's no surprise that great communicators are confident. If you're lacking in confidence, you can definitely fake it to you make it. If you're not familiar with Dr Amy Cuddy's work on 'power poses', check out this TEDx talk and find your inner Super.
It's estimated we take in 11-13 million bits of information every second (Wow! Our brain can only process about 50 bits per second) If you want your message as a leader to be heard, understood, absorbed. Cut out the filler words and focus on what you actually want to say.
5. Head Junk
While this isn't the scientific term, most people seem to understand what head junk is. that itty bitty shitty committee can be rather persistent, and not very helpful. Often the 'committee' can hinder our ability to communicate effectively. The very best way to get a handle on this is to write it down (pen. to paper). When we write our (unhelpful) thoughts down, our rational mind can see that our thoughts were, well, irrational. BONUS. Use the correct medium
Worldwide, there are 205.6 billion emails being sent every day.
Be aware of the mode you're using to communicate, and make sure you're using the most appropriate one. We're in an age of texting, tagging, and tweeting let's not forget that communication starts with conversing.
If you're looking to increase engagement and by default productivity, what one communication lever are you going to pull today?