Benefits of Effective Communication
It is very common for me to hear people talking in a language that I don’t understand. If the people are speaking Spanish, sometimes I eavesdrop to try to test my rudimentary Spanish language skills. Maybe I can understand 1 or 2 words out of 50; pretty difficult to understand anything they are saying at that rate!
As a leader, we don’t want to just say words, we want to communicate; to get someone to understand the what, the why and the how. With so much email, have you had the experience of being misunderstood; taken out of context? Now with multiple virtual meetings, there are even more skills needed to communicate and possible ways to be misunderstood.
With virtual communication, how do we check for understanding? I find it pretty difficult to check facial expressions or get feedback on a virtual call.
This year of lockdown has driven home to me the importance of over communicating. Don’t hesitate to ask open questions: Do they have any questions; do they have concerns. Then more specific questions: What aspect of the plan are they worried about? What aspect of the plan do they like? What needs tweaking? How?
Be sure to give people time to think and respond. Be comfortable with quiet. One of my pet peeves is when a speaker asks for questions and before anyone can speak, they move on. Try counting to 10 before you move on. It may seem awkward at first, but it will flush out some issues.
With the fast pace of our world and the volume of communication inundating people, it is more important than ever to be an effective communicator: Be clear, be concise and always work on listening skills. Check for understanding often.
It seems pretty basic to say, without effective communication, we can’t be an effective leader. Which is why it is critical to always strive to be better, to improve our communication skills.