5 ways to improve leadership communications.
One characteristic that differentiates leaders is their ability to communicate. Decker Communications regularly ranks the best communicators of the year, describing them as warm, confident and approachable.
If you want your team to respect you as a leader, you need to master the art of communication. Likewise, if you want to avoid the cost of poor communication, you need to speak and write clearly and with authenticity. Effective leaders connect with likability and humility, while focusing on their audience.
Whether you are writing an email message, delivering a talk, or recording a video, here are five communication tips for leaders:
- Prepare more than you want to.
Before you begin, spell out your objectives.
Even if you enlist a professional writer, and even when effective, persuasive communication comes naturally to you, it pays to prepare. What do you want to accomplish with the message? What is the one, primary point you want the audience to take away?
Defining these goals and making an outline of your narrative will make the communication process much more efficient, and provide the framework for what you say, how you say it, and what channels you use to deliver it.
- Understand the recipient’s perspective.
Because half of communication is listening, put yourself in your audience’s shoes.
As you craft your message, take some time to carefully consider and analyze the recipient’s point of view and emotional state: Who are they? What do they expect? What do they want? What are they feeling? Answers to these questions will help you edit and refine your key sentences and talking points.
- Keep it simple.
Leaders often try to do too much in one communication, but it’s more effective to keep things simple, straightforward and succinct.
Effective executive communication must to be clear, concise, credible and compelling. Eliminate jargon and avoid big fancy words and complicated sentences, which might seem smarter but more often than not lead to confusion. Simplify what you’re trying to communicate, and you will more easily be understood.
- Be real.
Few enjoy a canned speech or obviously-written-by-someone-else communication.
Effective leadership communication speaks to what is possible, optimistic, realistic and truthful.
Maybe a leader isn’t a natural speaker or writer, but they are skilled enough to earn their position, and with some help and advice, they can do an acceptable job and get better over time. Authenticity matters. Real is better than great.
When you lead people and provide direction, let them know your values and why their contribution matters.
- Welcome feedback and evaluate outcomes.
After you deliver a message, anticipate responses and welcome a conversation.
Communication is two-way street, and your willingness to take feedback, listen and discuss the topic demonstrates respect, builds trust and enables an opportunity to help clarify any confusion.
It will also help you to determine whether or not the message was understood as you intended.
It’s helpful to have advisors and assistants who provide honest, constructive assessments of what you did well and what can be improved. Writing and speaking are arts, and the more you practice, the better you become.
Leadership sets the course for an organization, and an organization of employees who understand the direction, envision the destination, and are onboard with their roles is a direct result of effective communication, and it’s central to your success.
As a provider of internal communications tools, PoliteMail enables corporate communicators to create, send, measure and improve the results of their internal communications. Learn more.