“Every time you have to speak, you are auditioning for leadership.” – James C. Humes
I bet you have heard this one countless times: communication is really important. Why is this so? Think about it … Communication is the very thing that makes us human! The fact we can communicate, allows us to interact with and get to know people, and obtain results. All types of communication have an effect, not only on yourself but also on the people around you. It is safe to say that with every communication act we set an action in motion.
What does this have to do with leadership? Easy, how do the best leaders motivate and inspire people? Now, think about history’s great leaders: Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Churchill, more recently, Steve Jobs… The thing that they have in common is that all of them knew exactly how to get their message across to motivate people into action. They were great communicators!
Now let’s get straight to it!
First remember that your message have to be congruent. This is a big one. In order to influence people’s actions (and thought!) you have to walk the talk. Anything you say, you mean, and will quickly act on.
And then, keep in mind that communication is always a two-way process. So you need to (must!) take the other into account. That is, it’s essential to have a clear sense of who you’re talking to, so you can choose the most relevant way to convey your messages for that audience to make sure it’s understood.
Once you have those two sorted out, you need to bring it home. How you make sure your communication is effective? A useful approach could be the following:
Make sure you have your goal in mind and plan the communication carefully and try to anticipate the recipient’s reaction.
Express your message congruently, relating it to your goals and giving a call to action.
Be open for the reply, check understanding on both sides and use feedback to grow.
Was the communication effective? The purpose of communication is to bring about a desired outcome. Unless it fulfills the desired outcome it is ineffective.
If the communication has been ineffective you need to identify the barriers in place for communication (anything from choosing an inappropriate channel to the current emotional state of your interlocutor) and seek ways to improve.
The sum and substance is that clear communication is the most important key to a leader’s success. So to grow as a leader and manager, you must learn how to be an effective and compelling communicator.
That’s all for now, folks. Stay tuned for more tips coming soon!
Watch this space… 🙂