Did you know that 1 in every 3 employees report that their manager completely lacks communication skills?😨
THAT IS CRAZY! Especially since communication is a fundamental skill of leadership and management and here’s why:
A lack of consistent and clear communication leads to..
👉🏾 Unclear direction
👉🏾 Stressful work environments
👉🏾 Workplace failures
👉🏾 Financial losses
👉🏾 Customer attrition
👉🏾 Business disruption
…And the list goes on really.
In today’s video on MakTV, I’m coming at you with some tips on improving your communication skills so that your teams or businesses aren’t having to deal with that kind of fall out.
I’m breaking down effective communication into 4 pillars for success!
Would you prefer to read rather than watch? Not to worry! You can read the blog post below. Before you dive in, don’t forget to download your FREE GUIDE: The Ultimate Guide to Being an Effective Team Leader here.
Pillar #1 - Consider Your Audience Before You Speak
When communicating whether that be to one person (perhaps a 1-1 meeting or a difficult conversation with a team member) or several people (like a team meeting or a presentation) it would do you well to consider your audience before you speak.
You see, communication is not just about you and the words that you speak. It is an exchange which means the other person or people that you are talking to are part of that exchange.
How do you consider your audience before you speak?
Well I tend to work in frameworks because they’re easy to understand, remember and apply.
One of the best frameworks I’ve learned that always keeps me in the mindset of considering my audience is the KNOW, FEEL, DO framework.
Let’s quickly touch on this.
Before you speak, think about what the other person already knows.
Maybe they know nothing about what you are about to say in which case you want to make sure that you are being super clear, citing examples and being specific.
Maybe they already know a lot in which case you want to tailor what you are going to say in a way that is concise so they are not inundated with information they are already aware of.
The second part of that framework is what do you want them to feel.
Information alone never leads to action; it’s emotion that does.
So if you want to communicate in a way that gets people to do something then you have to think about the emotion that you want them to have.
Do you want your team members to walk away feeling motivated?
Do you want them to feel empowered?
Do you want them to feel recognized for their efforts?
Choose words and body language that conveys that message so that your audience truly gets the full scope of what you are trying to convey and is able to walk away with the right emotion that sparks action.
If you fail to clearly define what you want people to do then more often than not they will do what they think is best which might be nothing at all because you didn’t articulate it.
Pillar #2 - Master Non-Verbal Communication
I really do think that we do ourselves a huge disservice by not paying attention to our nonverbal cues. Especially since non-verbal is the first thing that communicates on our behalf.
My mom used to say…your non verbal communication Mak, is like seasoning. It brings flavour to what you say making the words that you speak a lot more appealing.
Let me give you an example.
Have you ever been telling someone a story and then you realize they have their hands in their pocket or their shoulders crossed?
How did that instantly make you feel when you realized?
You most likely started to wonder, is my story boring?
The reason is because hands in the pocket and crossed arms send a signal of disinterest.
Now you might not be fully aware that’s the message you are receiving, but something in your mind is picking up on it and registering it as disinterest.
So you have to be cognizant of the messages you are sending through your body language particularly as the manager because your team members are observing everything you do. Your words, actions and body language everything, they are looking for cues from you and so you have to be aware of all the cues you’re putting out there.
As a suggestion, practice things like smiling not just with your mouth but with your face.
Use gestures to round out what you are saying so that people really grasp the full meaning.
If you’re saying something that includes numbers, use your fingers.
If you’re a business owner and your goal is to be on stage speaking and making an impact then it would be advantageous to you that the person that you hire can get you closer to that perhaps pitching on your behalf rather than them doing the general admin tasks or it could be vice versa – whatever you might think is best.
Either way, knowing your purpose helps you create a gap analysis that will help you build the right pieces.
Pillar #3 - Clarity
Now I’m always talking about clarity because I just think it’s one of the most important things you can have in your hip pocket.
If you are communicating with the right intentions but it’s not clear, then sadly you’re message is going to be falling on deaf ears.
Let me explain what I mean to really put this into perspective.
The human brain has to burn calories to process information.
And as humans we are very much about surviving and if we feel subconsciously like what you’re saying is going to cause us to expend far too much energy to understand then the brain says conserve energy and then it stops listening.
So you want to make sure that the person you are speaking to doesn’t go into that conserved energy state by making sure that your words are as clear as possible.
The good news is tif you ran it through the initial pillar framework of KNOW, FEEL, DO… then the message is relevant to the person. All you have to worry about is delivering it in a way that is clear and concise.
Speak in terms of buckets. Is there a before action, during action and after action that they need to know? Are there portions of a process that you can group together? If there is, then use this formula to simplify what you are trying to communicate.
In my New Manager Accelerator, I break down a framework for this type of clear, simple and practical communication that you can use in setting expectations, giving feedback, and delegating and giving presentations as well.
When it comes to communication, you really have to be intentional.
You can’t just throw it at the wall and expect it to be understandable. There’s so many other factors fighting for that brain space that you are fighting for, so it’s imperative if you want to have the performance results that you speak in a way that lands.
Pillar #4 - Actively Listen
Listening is 55% of our working time which means we actually listen more than we speak daily.
I would argue that listening is what actually separates good communicators from awesome communicators.
In fact, I can almost guarantee you that if you know someone that has amazing listening skills that if you were to also think of their communication skills, you would say oh yeah they are awesome communicators.
Active listening allows you to affirm, clarify, adjust and mirror which again amps up your communication abilities.
The most important aspect of active listening is being present.
It sounds simple but is actually really hard. Our brains are constantly processing and we are always trying to determine a number of things when someone is speaking.
For some people, they are already thinking about what they are going to say once that person closes their mouth.
Not being present or anticipating what someone might say is really dangerous because you miss out on the ability to actually understand so that you can clarify if need be or adjust.
Work on being present.
Clear your mind, and force yourself to ask questions so that you can gain perspective which will actually allow you to understand before you speak.