“Communication is considered to be the real work of leadership”
Communicating Ideas – Building stronger teams is every leaders dream, keeping the same communicating ideas as base most of the organizations today plan to adopt effective methods for communicating ideas. What matters down the line is not what you say, but how you say. Thus communication is the unique feature that helps in separating a bad leader from an effective leader in the organization. Thus the golden key to be an effective leader is ‘communication’.
Clear and perfect communication is need of the hour; we all remember very well that ‘Titanic’ sank because of lack of communication. Had there been clearer communication, the tragedy could have been prevented and many lives would have been saved. In the same way communication plays very vital role in our lives and business. In a survey conducted by CIO magazine, to list the topmost three skills needed in professionals 70 percent readers listed communication as one of the vital skills.
So why not brainstorm and update our communication skills by following the below listed top ten highly effective methods of communicating ideas in business environment. These are highly effective tips that help in communicating not just with staff at work, but also with customers, superiors, co-workers as well as subordinates. Some of the effective communication traits are being shared below that when used in consistent manner will certainly help in getting better communication outcomes.
Be an Active Listener
Did you get the feeling of talking to walls while interacting with someone at workplace? This is really an annoying feeling as you get heard but there are no signs of being heard from the listener. It’s a personal suggestion avoid doing the same to your colleagues, subordinates or superiors. The first and foremost rule of better communication ideas is to be aware that you are being heard. You can do so by creating an interactive session and keep the listeners involved in the game. This will certainly help in strengthening your personal knowledge as well as create a good impression. Showing reactions to whatever is being said through a nod or by using an “I see” or by simply paraphrasing sentence gives impact to whatever is being said. Another good action is encouraging feedbacks from all the workers in the organization.
Avoid Disruptions and Negative Questions
Suppose you ask your subordinate “You don’t have the file or report?” and the reply you get is “Yes”. This is very confusing because it can mean Yes, you are right and I have don’t have the file or report. Or it can also mean yes, I have the desired report or file.
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This clearly indicates that asking negative questions will mostly get vague or unclear replies that will result in confusions. Thus it is better that you should always go for positively framed questions (like “Do you have the have or report I asked for?”). If need be then you should always go for reaffirming negative questions like “Am I correct, that you do not have the file or report?”
Interruptions result in disruptions, so simply avoid interruptions, mainly while communicating ideas to your customers. It has been seen that customers mostly get upset, if you interrupt them frequently. If need be, then just cut the chase and tell the other person your insight about the communicating ideas and its importance. This way the other person has the option of either correcting or confirming your idea and finally this will help in saving lot of time.
Avoid Being Casual
Being casual is a strict no- no. By being informal with the colleagues or subordinates you definitely develop a good rapport and this helps in getting the job well done. But setting the limit to being casual is also very important while communicating ideas on the job. If it turns out to be pushy or angry, it can give rise to an unintended reaction from the recipient side. So, better make the language clear and in case of situations like anger, take a deep breath and keep your cool.
In case of written communication it is better to maintain professionalism in your emails, letters, phone calls or business meetings. By being very casual can lead to recipients feeling uncomfortable sometimes. There is a major issue with electronic media like emails and social media, which is very frequently used for communication these days. It is very difficult to ascertain which tone is being used while communicating ideas through them. So, it is better to communicate ideas personally by scheduling a meeting with the recipient or send message in professional manner.
Never Rush Communication
Never be in rush for anything while communicating; give yourself a pause before communicating. Giving pauses, though short ones really works wonders, especially when you are communicating ideas to the staff or at the workplace. Just a small break is what is required and it gives you short span of time to ponder. It has been found that rushing while communicating ideas never ever works rather it makes all the things go wrong. It is usually seen that when we hasten the things we either forget something or are bound to misplace the information to be communicated. The same thing happens while communicating also that we either forget few things important to be communicated all the whole idea of communication goes haywire. So while communicating your ideas in effective manner just keeps the pace slow and always pays attention, because giving extra time will really make huge difference in the way we communicate.
Corporate communications can be sometimes really boring following the same standards, so why not start organizational conversations. Think of dialogues rather than monologues. The mantra is making the conversation more personal as well as engaging and the more effective it will be. As the axiom goes “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” According to the Classic Business Theory, leaders need to stay at an arm’s length. To know what’s going on in the mind of people you need to develop meaningful relationship with them. The best way to be personal while communicating is to keep aside your ego and replace it with empathy. Empathetic communicators show higher level of transparency as well as authenticity and thus help in making them better communicators.
You can also add a personal touch to the conversation by talking about something that is not connected with work but related to their lives. This will help in letting their guards down for example you can ask about subordinates soccer match on weekend. But interacting on personal levels should also be within certain limits, but it will help in building trust for long term and effective communication as well.
Follow-up after Communication
Most of the times after communication conversation you assume that everything has been communicated as desired. The message has been received as intended, but most of the times it does not happen the way we think it has to reach. So to ensure that the message has been communicated in right way we should get into the habit of taking follow ups, especially if it is related to something important. This will help in avoiding confusion in understanding and make the communication better between sender and receiver. Just assuming that the receiver has heard your message and the message has been understood the way it was intended to be is a strict no-no. In the world of effective communication you are supposed to go for follow ups howsoever obvious the message is. Follow up just helps in making communication better and effective in two-way manner as desired.
Be Determined to Understand
The concept of aiming to analyze and understand arises from the well known author Stephen Covey. This communicating ideas suggests that the communicator needs to be good listener as well. Rather the speaker should try and understand also what is being conveyed. By comprehending the idea of communication even the toughest message can be made easy one. Thus it becomes all the more important to be patient as well as open-minded during communication interactions with staff or workers. Mostly we do not intend to identify with what the person is trying to communicate; instead we try to jump to our point of view. So next time while communicating work on understanding the communication part in better manner and then start communicating. Knowing the value and understanding the communication is really very important before communicating it.
Be Sensitive and Acknowledge Technical Differences
Sometimes the listeners are not very much aware of the technology upgrades, so there are many possibilities that the customers lack the desired technical knowledge. Therefore, it is better to be very careful in this case and explain them the things in easier and in layman language. Like avoid using acronyms and make sure that they identify or understand the acronyms in better manner. For example in the information technology filed the acronym ‘ASP’ can mean both ‘active server page’ or ‘application service provider’ so it’s better to clarify which one is you using while communicating. So try avoiding the common mistakes of either making the entire conversation go over their head or making them feel demeaned due to lack of technical knowledge.
A better way of explaining the technical concept is to make effective use of analogies. Although analogies have certain limitations but, they are useful to describe any unfamiliar or lesser known concept. One example of analogy is comparing the idea of firewall to a bank teller in a bank. Like when visiting a bank none of us go directly to the vault. Rather we go to the teller window, get our details verified and once our identity is established the teller gets the money from vault and gives it to us on the window.
Avoid using Misread Phrases/ words
Misinterpretations are a common problem while communicating, we say something without bad intentions but it gets misjudged by the other person. We want to say something else but the way of pronunciation leads to conveying something else. Like in case of Chinese language the typical sound of “ma” with a higher tone indicates “mother in law”, but with a falling and rising tone means a “horse”. Be cautious while using the word “you” as over usage of this word creates the feeling of threat or makes the listener feel defensive. For example instead of saying “you need to speak louder”, it’s better to say “I am having trouble hearing.” as the word you hold a dual meaning.
Once it’s all complete a finally done, one best method for effective communication is to ask the receivers to give their feedback. Take extra time out to speak personally with whom you communicate frequently. This will help you in finding how you can improve and what aspects you can improve regarding your style of communication. Feedbacks are simple suggestions that help in developing better understanding with co-workers, staff or subordinates. Feedbacks are very important, though not easy to ask for.
Thus basically think before you speak and follow the dos and don’ts of the communication mantra to be an effective communicator amongst your colleagues, superiors and subordinates. There is no key to become an effective communicator but by adopting the above listed tips one can certainly improve and enhance his/ her style of communication. Just pay attention to the way others communicate with you and the manner in which you communicate with others. By observing practically the ways of communication you can learn the effective communication styles in better manner. So, just go ahead and communicate with the beautiful world around you and improve everyday your style of communication by implementing these tips on effective communication. Most of the organizations also encourage sharing both dialogues as well as inputs from employees to make the internal communication within teams better and effective as it finally helps the organization as well.