How To Improve Your Leadership Communication Skills

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Introduction

Every day that you spend at work requires that you communicate with others—your team members, your boss, your peers, and the outside vendors that you rely upon to succeed. Being a good communicator is vital for leaders because they need to get their point across during staff meetings but also be able to represent the company’s brand in a positive way when presenting externally or entertaining executives. Whether you’re giving a presentation to investors or simply chatting with your team about last weekend’s game, the way you communicate can make a huge difference in how people perceive you and your company.

How to Improve Your Leadership Communication skills?

In order to improve all areas of your leadership communication, it is important that you first understand the basics of good communication. A good communicator will be clear, concise and confident.

To achieve your goal of becoming an excellent communicator, it’s important that you:

Practice clear communication by using short sentences and easy to understand words. For example, instead of saying “The third-quarter results were not what we had projected due in part to a decline in market share,” say “We missed our third-quarter results due to a decline in market share.” Be concise by using the right words and then being willing to be quiet when appropriate.

Practice confidence by imagining that you are presenting every message two ways, once with enthusiasm and passion and again tonelessly. Then ask yourself which version of you is more confident. Enthusiasm and passion are contagious, so choose to project these qualities in all your communication.

Think about the audience’s perspective whenever you communicate with others. Is there a way that you can rephrase your message to make it clearer? How can you visualize what someone else might be feeling when they hear your message? Building this awareness is a great way to improve your leadership communication skills.

When it comes to getting your point across, there are three things that help: being clear, being concise and being confident. You can get better at each of these by practicing the following techniques:

Practice Clear Communication

•When you want people to understand what you are saying, it is important to use short sentences and easy to understand words. It’s also a good idea to avoid jargon that only other members of your industry will understand. For example, instead of saying “The third-quarter results were not what we had projected due in part to a decline in market share,” say “We missed our third-quarter results due to a decline in market share.”

•It is also important to use the fewest words possible while still being clear. Remember that tone and volume are just as important as accuracy when it comes to communication, so speak clearly and at an appropriate pace.

Practice Concise Communication

•Practice concise communication skills by using the right words and then being willing to be quiet when appropriate. When you speak, people will take their cues from your tone of voice and body language as much as from what you are actually saying.

Since gestures or facial expressions can communicate more than words, practice toning down your enthusiasm when speaking. This will enable you to focus on being concise and clear in your message.

Practice Confidence

•Practice leadership communication by imagining that you are presenting every message two ways, once with enthusiasm and passion and again tonelessly. Then ask yourself which version of you is more confident. Enthusiasm and passion are contagious so choose to project these qualities in all your communication.

•When projecting confidence, pause before answering questions or making statements. This is a subtle way to add confidence to your communication. You might also consider projecting an air of certainty or authority with every statement you make, whether it’s true or not.

•Practice keeping eye contact for the entire time that someone is speaking to you. If you are distracted by something in the background, ask yourself what else you could be focused on instead.

•If you are nervous, take a deep breath and relax before speaking. This will help your listeners identify with the strength that they know you have behind the communication.

Emotional Intelligence and the Senses

The ability to manage emotions is an important part of emotional intelligence. It’s also a parallel skill set that can be developed by everyone, regardless of their level of technical skills.

Understanding the senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell – and how they influence emotion and communication is another way to develop your emotional intelligence.

To improve your emotional intelligence, ask yourself the following questions:

Do I know how my emotions affect my performance?

What are some strategies that have worked for me in controlling strong emotions or managing uncomfortable situations?

How can I apply these strategies to the next difficult situation that comes up at work?

I’m often told that I talk too much. Can you give me some examples of times when talking more has worked to my advantage?

How can I practice talking less in the next meeting?

I’ve already been asked this question today, but it’s okay to ask again. Practice asking for a clarification or repeating back to someone what they just said.

I’ve already asked this question, but it’s okay to ask again. Practice asking for a clarification or repeating back to someone what they just said.

•Once you understand how sensory skills can affect your emotions and communication, practice identifying which of the sense channels are involved in any given situation and then using them to improve the situation.

•If you communicate with people who are blind or deaf, practice using your sense of touch and/or smell to compensate for their lack of sight or hearing. This will help you build a connection with someone who might otherwise be an outsider in your world. Try this at work too if you find yourself avoiding communicating with people who have a different sensory experience than you.

Engage in Dialogue, Remain Curious, and Align Your Communication to Specific Goals

As you develop as a leader, it is likely that you will find yourself in situations where you might disagree with someone or have different opinions than others.

This is the time to engage your dialogue skill set and determine how best to approach the situation.

Remain curious about what is happening around you and look for ways to be engaged. Focus on the experience of learning and growing from each situation, rather than just viewing it as a competitor that you must beat.

Keep in mind that it is your job to be aligned with the goals of your organization. Make sure your communication strategies are contributing toward those ends. Ask yourself which elements in your communication do not meet these goals and find ways to change them.

This may be a lot of work, but as long as you are aligned with the goals of your organization, it will feel like play rather than effort.

10 Principles of Effective Leadership Communication Strategies

Leadership communication is a complex endeavor that requires constant attention to detail. It may be necessary to modify your communication strategies to make them more compatible with the different environments in which you find yourself, and it will also benefit you to remain flexible and willing to change as situations arise. Although there are no hard and fast rules regarding what makes effective leadership communication strategies, there are some guiding principles that experts have identified. Consider these as you develop a plan for communicating your ideas and developing others’ commitment to them.

1: Communication is a two-way street – no single person in the organization has the answer, so it is important to look at all possible scenarios for strategy implementation and find ways to make them work together.

The next time you find yourself in a leadership position, remember that no single person holds all the answers; therefore, it is important to understand everyone’s role and how they fit into your overall goals and objectives. You may even want to consider setting up a committee or formulating some type of brainstorming session to ensure that your communication strategy covers all possible scenarios.

2: Communication is a process – you must be willing to go through the stages of planning, implementation, and evaluation in order to be an effective communicator. Most people will not want to hear what you have to say if they think that you are unprepared or even worse, that you have not done your homework.

3: Communication is a conversation – make sure you are listening as well as talking and that the message is getting through to those on both sides of the communication channel. When it comes to effective leadership communication strategies, this is especially important because if you keep talking without making any effort to listen, people will become frustrated and stop listening to you altogether.

4: Communication is a partnership – people are more likely to be receptive when they feel like they have a stake in the process, so make sure that everyone involved has an opportunity to provide their input.

They will appreciate your willingness to include them, even if there is not always time or room in the end product for their particular ideas.

5: Communication is a proactive process – you must be willing to proactively communicate with your team members if your leadership communication strategies hope to be successful. You may sometimes find that it is easier to wait until there is an issue instead of talking about it before it becomes a problem, but this can be damaging to the organization and even your reputation as a leader.

6: Communication is the focal point for respect – you must be willing to dedicate yourself to building relationships with other members of your team if you are going to help them understand where they fit into the overall picture. As long as everyone feels that their ideas are being heard, they will be more likely to commit to your leadership communication strategies.

7: Communication is a foundational area for trust – if you do not make it clear that you have their best interests in mind, people will simply feel like they are being talked at and may not pay attention to the message. This can become especially dangerous when implementing changes or making decisions that may be unpopular with certain members of your team.

8: Communication is a negotiation – is someone unhappy? Well, that means you have an opportunity to negotiate for what they need in order to support the strategy. If you can ensure people are getting their needs met, they will be much more likely to fully commit themselves to your leadership communication strategies. To learn more, take our free online course on Communication Helping vs. Leading People .

9: Communication is a team effort – you may be the leader, but everyone must work together to make the message clear and to ensure that those involved understand their role in the process of implementing your leadership communication strategies.

10: Communication is a reflection of you – no matter how great your ideas are, if you make people feel inferior or embarrassed because they have not done their homework, then they will simply tune you out. This can be damaging to the implementation of your leadership communication strategies and even to your reputation as someone who is invested in helping them learn and grow.

 

Leadership Communication In Difficult Times

In a leading role there are many decisions that need to be made, and even more uncertainties which means communication is the key. Communicate as much as possible, keep everyone informed and updated.

Leadership communication is not only needed when things are going well but also to support your employees through negative situations; this will give them the security needed to face challenges and give proper feedback when necessary.

People need to be informed and involved for the decisions being made, otherwise you will lose their trust and motivation in your leadership.

You have to keep people motivated not only through bonuses but also by keeping an open dialogue with everyone and listening to problems or concerns they may have.

When you face a problem or issue, deal with it immediately don’t wait for the perfect moment; an ongoing issue can easily become worse without any realization.

Communicate as much information about your decision, give everyone the chance to comment and share their point of view before taking any course of action.

Pay attention to what’s going on around you, don’t get isolated from your people. Listen to what they have to say and face the problems together as a team. Remember that there are always two sides of an argument so it’s good to hear arguments for and against something before making any final decision #Leadership Communication

LISTEN

The first and best way to start communicating as a leader is to listen. A good communicator wants to know what is important to the people he or she communicates with, and this means listening before speaking.

The best leaders of all time have had one thing in common: they were great listeners. They listened so intently that their listeners began to feel like they could tell the leader anything because they knew that the leader would keep their secrets.

In addition to listening, leaders also have to be able to hear what people are saying. In today’s world of texting and instant messaging, many people forget about the importance of body language in a conversation, so effective leadership communication also involves understanding how your listener is responding both verbally and non-verbally.

The best leaders know that listening is the most important part of effective communication and it’s a skill that must be practiced every day if you want to be an effective leader. People who are shy will especially need to work on their listening skills if they want to become good leaders.

Preparation

Most people think leaders have to be outgoing and charismatic in order to be effective, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Some of the most successful leaders are introverted individuals who know how to get what they want through quiet planning rather than extroverted enthusiasm.

Being an effective leader means preparing yourself ahead of time. A great leader never walks into a meeting without knowing exactly what he or she wants to accomplish and how they will achieve that goal.

An effective leader knows the importance of preparation ahead of time, but leadership communication also includes making sure that your approach is appropriate. For example, if you are trying to sell an idea to someone, it’s important to pick a location where you won’t be interrupted, like the person’s office rather than the cafeteria.

If they are busy and constantly being distracted by other people or events, then they will never hear your idea in full. Leadership communication involves finding ways to communicate with each individual on their own terms rather than forcing them to communicate on your terms

When you act like a good leader and prepare ahead of time, people will know that you mean business and they will pay attention to you. This is one of the reasons why many people call preparation “one of the keys to success”. #Leadership Communication

INVEST IN PEOPLE

Good leaders don’t have to be individuals with all the answers. In fact, some of the most effective leaders in history were people who didn’t know everything but knew how to get things done through their people.

The best way for a leader to help someone is by investing in them and showing them that they have what it takes to succeed as a leader too. Every person has something special about themselves that makes them special. Once you know what that is, then the real leadership communication begins.

If you want someone to be successful in their career, invest time and money into helping them become better at what they do. Give them advice and help push them in a positive direction so that when they go out there and make things happen, everyone will be more inclined to agree with them.

Leaders don’t always have all the answers, but they do know how to invest in the success of others and this is true leadership communication.

 

Conclusion

A successful business depends on clear and effective leadership communication . While this may seem like an easy task, the reality is that there are subtle challenges to overcome in order to be a great communicator. You need to have strategies for each of the aspects involved in communication before you can be sure that your team will understand what it is you want them to do.