It may be one of the most basic skills around, but communication is also one of the hardest to master. Many leaders often face problems with getting ideas across to their followers. This isn’t necessarily because they are bad communicators –rather the ability to fill the shoes of another person and explain things in their language is a skill of its own. Communicating is an art, and this article cannot teach it to you. Instead, here are a few pointers to keep in mind. There are three broad categories of communication to be discussed.
3 Broad Categories of Communication
Communicating to Inform
One of the most common roles of communication is to bridge the knowledge gap between communicator and listener. The first thing a leader can do to communicate effectively is to dumb things down. Business speak is often mind-boggling and filled with unnecessary jargon, like “strategic interest” or “collaborative work initiatives”. These words may seem normal to you, but they jumble up conversation. Dumb things down, explain the concept, and then only introduce specific business terms.
Secondly, providing a clear reference to your employee works wonders in getting information across. After explaining concepts, some leaders opt to hand their employees a simple summary sheet of the necessary information needed to know. Breaking down sophisticated demands into simpler ones are a great way to get an employee cracking. Many procrastinate because a task seems to complex.
Communicating to Persuade
In odd cases, leaders may find themselves in need of creating conviction in the workforce. Democratic leaders who wish to sway opinion in their favor use speech to get what they want. The first step to communicating effectively here is to identify common ground. Appeal to familiar concepts or ideas that are naturally appreciated by your employees. Even in the case of unusual ideas, finding common ground establishes a feeling of familiarity which is easy to buy into.
More so, getting a good grip of the basics of persuasion are absolutely vital. The perception of confidence is vital, even if you aren’t in reality. Being simple and concise is always recommended as it helps to focus attention on your idea or opinion. A good strategy when it comes to persuasion is to list down a few brief points on what you need to talk about. Three is a good number to begin with. Talk for no longer than 3 minutes; the human attention span is a tricky fella.
Communicating to Appreciate
Appreciation, as established previously, is a strong tool in motivating people. The art of appreciation is just as important as the content of your appreciation. A few simple rules include keeping it short, never repeating the same phrase of appreciation to others, and limiting its use. Too much appreciation detracts from its power, but don’t get stingy with it. Pointing out specific and easily overlooked parts of an employees work helps to make your appreciation more sincere.
In reality, putting these pointers into practice is a different story. However, it never hurts to be aware of these fundamental aspects of effective communication. No one is going to listen to you unless you take the initiative to be worth listened to.
My personal strategy is always to START by communicating to Appreciate, then deliver anything more challenging, then sandwich again by Appreciation communication.
Usually works and that spoonful of sugar, well, you know the rest 😉
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