Eight Strategies To Help You Communicate Effectively And Be A More Influential Leader
Communication is easy to request and tough to deliver. Today we have the most pathways for communicating — face to face, email, phone, text, voicemail, videoconferencing, app platforms (such as Slack) and social media. Communication includes not only the words we use and our body language; it’s also the intention behind those words, the history I have with you and the mindset we each have behind those words at the time we say them.
For an environment of trust, respect and safety to exist, leaders must master the skill of communicating honestly, empathetically and decisively. There are eight strategies you can use to create messages that are impactful, transparent and motivating.
- Get at the heart of the issue.
It’s vital, especially during times of change, that people actually experience your passion, conviction and care. Your caring can touch something in others that inspires them to care as well. Show who you are in your communication through your sincerity and spirit so your message rings true and genuine communication can happen. The key is to communicate your perspective and point of view with passion and conviction while still tailoring your message to the audience you are speaking with and being unattached to the outcome — that’s the sweet spot.
- Ensure there’s one key takeaway.
When I was working in publicity, my boss would always talk about how you need to have “one must-make point.” This is helpful any time you are communicating. Think about the one point you want the other party to take away, and then think about how you can deliver that message in simple terms that people will easily remember. The more you clutter up your messaging, the more challenging it will be for people to actually remember what you said. Make your message clear and memorable.
- Listen from a position of curiosity.
Imagine if you could peel back the layers of a conversation midstream and see what someone is thinking in that moment. You might be surprised. Often, we relate to a present conversation through the lens of our past experiences, judgments and biases. When you listen from a position of curiosity, you give yourself the opportunity to be truly open to listening in the present. This mindset leads you to ask curious questions that are open-ended and this, in turn, causes both parties to think and reflect and generates more understanding.
- Anchor yourself.
There are times when, as a leader, you have to support a decision that was made by others above you and that you are not 100% in favor of. I’m not referring to decisions that would call for you to do something unethical or completely against your values; rather, you agree up to a point, or maybe you wish that the implementation was different. When you have the responsibility of promoting such a decision or message, seek out the aspects of that decision or message that you can connect with, that you can sincerely get on board with, and anchor yourself to those. Then, you can come before your team and move them in the direction that is expected of you from a genuine place.
- Build positive relationships with others.
When you consistently invest in communicating with people as transparently as possible, they come to trust that you will communicate both the good and the bad. They’ll trust that you’ll be candid and honest and believe that when you can share, you will. Whereas if they consistently feel you’re holding back, they will tend to come to their own conclusions. When you’re regularly investing positively, people will know you to be reliable. Then, when something goes awry, people will say, “Maybe she messed up here. It was a blip. I know I can trust her.”
- Context is crucial.
Every message needs a clear why in order to resonate. Simon Sinek made this famous with the “Golden Circle” from his renowned TED talk. The why is what moves people to action. The context, the why, is the glue that makes your message stick. It lands because it gets to the core of motivation. If I don’t communicate enough context, people are left wondering, “Why are we doing this?” They may feel that something is being left out or someone is not telling them the whole story.
- Be consistent.
You want to convey a message that stays in people’s minds. To do that, you have to be consistent in your messaging. Since the start of the pandemic, one of my clients has sent out out a global communication via email or video every Monday. Employees have come to expect and depend on that message for updates, information, and even lightness and humor. When you are consistent, you facilitate people trusting and having confidence in you.
- Share the five W’s and even the H.
Good old who, what, when, where, why and how are essential ingredients to great messages. People want to know how something new is going to affect them. “Why are we changing? What would happen if we did nothing? How will the shift impact how we function as an organization and as people inside the organization? When will the change be implemented?”
Keep in mind that when you’re messaging to a group, you’re addressing people with many different communication styles. Some individuals don’t need a lot of facts and data to back something up. One data point will move them. There are other people who are far more analytical, and they need a lot of data to be persuaded. When you include the why, what, how, when, etc., it assists with messaging to a variety of different personalities and value systems.
Remember that just because you are speaking words or putting them down in any form doesn’t mean you are actually communicating. Words facilitate a message, and especially during times of change, that message can be a powerful vehicle for sharing and instilling trust, respect and safety.
By Esther Weinberg I Forbes Councils Member I Forbes Coaches Council I first published at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2021/04/07/eight-strategies-to-help-you-communicate-effectively-and-be-a-more-influential-leader/?sh=315810653031 Apr 7, 2021
Esther Weinberg is a renowned business growth accelerator for executives in high-growth media and technology industries at The Ready Zone.