Effective communication is the key to being a successful leader or manager – and the more successful the management communication in a business, the more successful the business. Survey after survey demonstrates that many employers fail in their communications with staff – impacting on morale, levels of engagement, efficiency and in some cases poor employee relations. The good news is that communication skills are actually very easy to improve.
Eight tips for better communication skills:
1. Ask questions
If you’re the person asking the questions then chances are you’re also the one controlling the direction of the conversation. So, being the one who asks the questions is an effective way to communicate what you want to get across to the other person.
2. The way to listen
Have you thought about how you listen? Do you listen so as to judge the other person, or do you listen so that you can understand? If managers are too quick to judge, time will be wasted arguing about minute details that have probably been misunderstood. Instead, make sure you listen carefully and understand what someone is saying before moving the conversation onwards.
3. Yes… but!
How many times do we hear others interrupting a flow of conversation with the words: “Yes… but”? Not only is this irritating and a killer of good interaction but it’s likely that the person interrupting is also not listening to the conversation properly. Instead, take the time to listen before making your various points in the conversation. Always avoid: “Yes…but” if possible.
4. The right way to write
In written communication, re-read what you have written and remove all adjectives and adverbs. Your message will be more impactful if you write in simple sentences and avoid over-egging.
5. Take an interest
It’s too easy to half-listen to what a person is saying in the hope that the conversation will be over more quickly. But this usually means that the conversation leads to misunderstandings and poor results. Instead, set out with the intent of engaging and being interested in what the other person has to say. It’s amazing how much more interesting the communication becomes – and how much more interesting and engaging they will find you, too.
6. It works both ways
If you talk only about yourself and not about the other person during a conversation this will come across as self-centred. If you want another person to feel positive about you, it is important that you are also interested in them. Research shows that the person you are conversing with will find you interesting, intelligent and engaging if you are also interested and engaged in them.
7. What not to say
Two statements to avoid during communication with employees is: “With all due respect…” and “I don’t mean to disagree, but…” These two phrases, more than many others, are guaranteed to set the other person on edge and make them deaf to whatever you say next, no matter how powerful it may be.
8. Be creative
When making a formal presentation, start by imagining that PowerPoint has never been invented. This is an over-used form of presenting a communication. Instead, create a message that you can share in an imaginative way, and that will effectively capture your audience’s hearts, minds and attention.
So, improving your management communication is easier than you might think! Try some of these tips out today, then leave a comment to let us know what results you achieve or to ask any questions – as always we’ll reply to all comments…