Effective communication skills for a business leader are crucial to success. Effective communication keeps your employees motivated and working toward a common goal, while poor communication can lead them frustrated, confused, unproductive and unhappy in their jobs. It’s easy to think that you have excellent communication skills, but the reality is that nearly everyone can afford to improve their communication to better their leadership.
So what are the best ways to improve your communications skills?
- Be a better listener: It sounds counter intuitive, but to be a better communicator, you have to be a better listener. Listening allows you to hone your message to your employees and respond accurately to their concerns and input. If you’re anticipating your employees’ responses, or thinking about the next item on your to-do list, you’re not being an effective listening or an effective communicator.
- Don’t be insensitive: Communicate with tact. Don’t use language or tones that could offend your audience. If you have employees from different backgrounds, consider that, as well. Different cultures have different ideals for what is offensive. If your audience is offended, they won’t listen to what you’re saying.
- Invite input: You hired the members of your team because you believed they had something valuable to contribute. Give them the opportunity to do so. Don’t talk at your employees; talk with them. It will make them feel more valuable, and it will give you another perspective on your business.
- Simplify your message: If you present issues in a complex way, you will confuse and lose your audience. Present ideas in the simplest way possible. Be specific rather than vague. If you’re having a discussion with an employee, try to ask questions that will lead to simple and direct answers.
- Look to build trust: If your message is going to be well received by your team, you have to have their trust. Optimism, confidence and competence all generate trust, as does talking to members of your team in a conversational and personal way about non-work topics.
- Focus on goals, not just achievement: Everyone likes to be recognized for their achievements, and you shouldn’t overlook this when talking to your staff. If you’re looking to motivate and energize your team members for the future, however, it is important also to tap into their potential for the future. Let them know what you think is possible, and they will feel motivated to reach those goals.
- Consider your audience’s perspective: When you’re planning a conversation or a presentation, think about the presentation from your audience’s standpoint rather than from your standpoint as the presenter. What really matters in communication isn’t in the message’s presentation; it’s in how that message was received by the audience.
Good communication skills are the cornerstone of effective business leadership. Even if you’re confident in your communication skills, it’s important to consider this list and evaluate how you stack up on each of these items. You may be a good communicator, but could you be better? There’s always room for improvement.