By Mike Myatt – 04/04/2012
It is simply impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator. I hope you noticed the previous sentence didn’t refer to being a great talker – big difference. The key to becoming a skillful communicator is rarely found in what has been taught in the world of academia. From our earliest days in the classroom we are trained to focus on annunciation, vocabulary, presence, delivery, grammar, syntax and the like. In other words, we are taught to focus on ourselves. While I don’t mean to belittle these things as they’re important to learn, it’s the more subtle elements of communication rarely taught in the classroom (the elements that focus on others), which leaders desperately need to learn. It is the ability to develop a keen external awareness that separates the truly great communicators from those who muddle through their interactions with others. In today’s column I’ll share a few of the communication traits, which if used consistently, will help you achieve better communication results.
I don’t believe it comes as any great surprise that most leaders spend the overwhelming majority of their time each day in some type of an interpersonal situation. I also don’t believe it comes as a great shock to find a large number of organizational problems occur as a result of poor communications. It is precisely this paradox that underscores the need for leaders to focus on becoming great communicators. Effective communication is an essential component of professional success whether it is at the interpersonal, intergroup, intragroup, organizational, or external level. While developing an understanding of great communication skills is easier than one might think, being able to appropriately draw upon said skills when the chips are down is not always as easy as one might hope for.
Here are the top 10 (with a bonus), without the defined summaries from the article associated with each one…Number 7 is a big one:
- Speak not with a forked tongue
- Get personal
- Get specific
- Focus on the leave-behinds not the take-aways
- Have an open mind
- Shut-up and listen
- Replace ego with empathy
- Read between the lines
- When you speak, know what you’re talking about
- Speak to groups as individuals
- Bonus – Be prepared to change the message if needed