Good Leadership Requires Good Communication

There is continuing interest in the relevance and usefulness of good communication skills in business, like this article in Forbes.

Although of primary importance to getting things done, inadequate training and practice of communication skills reduces the competence and confidence of those in business, especially emerging leaders with technical backgrounds. Productivity depends on your ability to create relationships, and provide information, directions, and feedback.

Here are some comments by those who have less than ideal communication skills:

  • “I’ve been given feedback that I need to improve my listening skills
  • “ I’m good at the technical aspects of my job, but to get a promotion, I need to have a better presence at meetings.”
  • “I want to be friendly, but I can’t be smiling all the time.”
  • “I’m passionate, so my voice is loud sometimes.”

Learning the Skill of Communication

Communication is a complicated process. It involves cues to others even when you are not saying anything. To have a positive communication skills and presence, you need to consider:

  • What you say: your main ideas, examples, and values
  • How you look: your stance, gait, gestures and facial expressions
  • How you say it:  your rate of speech and tone

In addition, it is important to be aware of the setting in which you are communicating—and its effect of those you wish to understand and accept your message.  For example, ask, “Is noise hindering others’ ability to hear and not be distracted? “Is the lack of privacy hindering others ability to listen comfortably?” “Are others rushed and lack patience to focus on my message?”

Consider these Three Tips

Tip: If you have an important message to provide, make sure you think about the time and place you plan to communicate with others. For example, find a non-distracting time and place and allot enough time to talk—and listen.

Here’s how your facial expression may close the door to positive communication:

  • “When he walks into the room, he looks like he’s carrying the world on his shoulders.”
  • “I know she’s smart and competent, but she’s so serious. She never smiles.”

Tip: If you want colleagues or staff to be open to hearing your messages, practice smiling to release tension and provide a positive atmosphere (http://www.leadershipgeeks.com/techniques-of-effective-communication/).  For example, before you enter a meeting, evoke a positive image to relax and get on track.

Think about those with excellent communication skills. You know they are interested in you because they look at you, don’t fidget and gaze around the room, and often show you’ve been heard by paraphrasing what you’ve said.

The need to enhance communication may stem from lack of confidence, fears of making mistakes, or impatience. Regardless of the reasons or how well-meaning you are, others may feel you don’t like them and they may ignore or reject your message.

Tip:  If you are shy or lacking confidence, practice good eye contact, relaxed stance, and smiling before you talk.  Then practice your message on your own using audio or video, or ask a trusted friend or colleague, or enroll in sales or leadership course such as Dale Carnegie or a community-based organization such as Toastmasters. Of course, you might consider hiring a coach for one-on-one skill enhancement.  (You’ll find ways to contact me, as well as other resources below).

The need for positive and productive communication skills will not evaporate. Productivity requires your ability to convey information to others clearly and simply and listening so that you show friendliness, respect and openness to interacting with others.

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For coaching support email geri@managingyourmind.com

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