There is an episode in the Simpsons when Homer speaks to the family dog, expecting that the dog perfectly understands everything he has clearly said to him. The dog (“Santa’s Little Helper”) has a thought bubble over his head showing what he has in fact heard. The thought bubble has total gobbled gook written in it.
Whilst not as extreme as the Simpsons example, sometimes execs and leaders can assume their messages are articulated and understood loud and clear when in fact depending on the mode of delivery, the words, body language, tone, and the individual, a completely different or non-existent message can be received.
Communication is at the core of every business – and has never been more important than now as we launch into a fast and furious changing world of work. Leaders should never arrogantly disregard the huge impact, positively or negatively, that their spoken word can have on employee engagement and culture and ultimately performance.
“Communication is the most important skill
any leader can possess” Richard Branson
Being able to explain and impart information that drives great performance, teaches and develops employees is a key priority in order to remain competitive. Executive teams must be able to collaborate to make decisions rapidly. Effective teams communicate effectively in order to be creative and innovative.
Nailing the art of all communication in all forms is therefore a must do. In this instance I am referring to spoken messages though.
Key elements to consider include…
Your communication must have heart: Be real and honest. Show your true character. Leave your ego at the door and deflate your shoulder pads if needed!
Choose a suitable time and place where you can be heard and seen to garner major impact.
If possible, illustrate your intended message with a story to paint a mental picture for your audience. Think about the length required to engage without losing the recipients.
Stop look and listen during your presentation. Assess how your message is being received. Learning to read body language can provide important insights on opinions and feelings.
Seek feedback on the information you have given: Ask an open question eg “John, what are your initial thoughts on what I have spoken about today?”
The art of impactful communication doesn’t come easily to all of us. If you are struggling, an experienced mentor can be a great ongoing sounding board.
It’s ok to get it wrong sometimes (In fact it makes you more real!) Learn and refine your style to suit your audience. Choose your words carefully in advance to be the most impactful.
Need a hand to get it right? Lexie develops and facilitates workshops to assist senior leaders and teams to communicate and collaborate more effectively. She also mentors leaders and executives in all aspects of professional branding and development.
Contact Lexie at: firstname.lastname@example.org