Avoid the blah, blah, blah! By keeping to a few simple principles you can transform your communication and business performance. Learn why effective communication is one of the key CEO skills you can master.
How many times each day do we senior executives send out messages, stand in front of our teams to announce something, present to clients, or prepare proposals for key decisions?
If you are like many executives, then this is a normal part of your day and probably has been for a long time. How much thought do you give to each of these communications? It probably varies significantly based on your view about its relative importance. But to whom, you, your team, the organization?
So why is communication important in business?
Most senior executives know that communication is more than just imparting information, more than just a one-way process. However, we often get so busy that we end up doing precisely that. We forget the powerful, yet simple, principles to be an effective communicator. This is one of those crucial differences between managing a task and leading people to an objective and a vision.
As a partner helping leaders to be more effective at communication, we looked at the actual impact this had on their business. We found a high correlation between employee engagement and communication. This applied both to global corporate communications as well as local leadership communications.
Studies also show that most communications tend to focus primarily on the company needs, then on the local business, and only a small part on how these affect employees' jobs. The problem with this is that the needs of employees are the opposite. They will only be committed to driving towards the organization’s objectives once they know clearly what it means for them.
What are the key principles that we need to remind ourselves of?
1. A Way of Being
Most communication is non-verbal and takes place whether we planned to communicate or not. A leader’s day-to-day behaviors and actions will be their most powerful communication tool. Be consistent and professional - communicating as a way of leading, rather than a task from time to time.
2. Be Yourself
We often hear of this as being ‘authentic’. Communicating from the heart, in a style that is naturally yours, and being honest will gain respect and trust in what you say.
3. Effective Listening
This is not simply listening to appear interested. Listen to take on insights, perspectives, and ideas. Listen for signals and for areas of concern.
4. Keep it Simple
We often try to give as much detail as possible and be fully comprehensive in our messages. This results in a lot of content hiding the main point of the communicating, or at the very least distracting from it. Keep it focused and clear and keep the rest for the Q&A when relevant.
5. Apply a Process
Whether it is in creating a single message or putting in place a large change communications plan, there is a way to approach these that will make them much more effective. Think about your objectives, about the differences in your audience, and about the different combinations of people, tools, and mechanisms that could be used to do the communication.
Simple and powerful principles to remember for your next communication today!