Posted 02 September 2011 by Chris Farmer
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You could define "Good communication skills" as "the ability to accurately transfer information and emotion to /from the minds of others".
And as a leader-manager, you need to be good at both, i.e.
- Explaining facts
- Explaining feelings
A Thought Experiment:
If you were to make a list of twenty people you would regard as great leaders, and then, when you have that list, you asked yourself, "Of these great leaders, how many also qualify as great communicators?", then you would find a strong correlation between the two attributes:
- Those people who are great communicators are often great leaders
- And great leaders are often excellent communicators
That interesting correlation might give you a suggestion.....
In order to improve your leadership qualities, you could improve on your personal communication skills.
- Communicate your vision!
- Use numbers to gain accuracy
- Explain your ideas, don't force them on others
- Improve your listening skills
Good plan: But how, specifically?
Here is a list of ideas for your consideration
Communicate your vision!
In order to be a good communicator you need something good to say!
An obvious point, I know, but so obvious most people tend to miss it.
Remember, in order to be a good speaker, you'll need something good to say!
Question: What could that be?
Answer: The "good thing" you could talk about, is your "vision for a better future".
1. A better future for others
2. A better future for yourself
Think carefully about how you could make the future better than either:
- The present, or
- The recent past
Once you have thought about it, write it down, learn it, and then start talking about it.
Why this works
This works because; everyone is interested in a better future: and those people who talk in those terms are seen as "good people".
Equally DON'T talk for very long about a gloomy or dark future.
It scares people!
Use numbers to gain accuracy
You need to be accurate too. So employ the power of numbers.
How to use numbers to gain accuracy
In order to gain accuracy in your communication, get the facts; get the figures.
Don't say "The stock market is up": Say "the stock market is up 1.3% over yesterday's figure".
Don't say "I've" gained weight": Say "I've gained 7ibs since this time last year!"
Don't say "Please get some milk on the way home: say "Please get two pints of full fat, goat's milk, on the way home".
Use numbers to gain accuracy
Use humour to your advantage
Churchill was witty
But don't misuse humour
Don't act the clown
Don't be condescending or sarcastic
Gerald Ratner messed up with his humorous comment about his products and it cost him £500 million.
Explain your ideas, don't force them on others
Here is a phrase you should remember:
"You can't force a mind"
People operate according to their ideas, not yours, and if you try to force your idea on someone, it will fail.
Margaret Thatcher's poll tax failed, because she didn't convince enough people of its merits.
You CAN'T force a person to accept your idea is RIGHT.
"Because I said so" may work in military life, as the language of a leader, but does NOT work so well in civilian life.
Instead: always try to give the explanation for your ideas.
- Why is your idea good?
- Why is NOT implementing your idea, bad?
Improve your listening skills
Good communication skills are about listening, not just speaking.
So sometimes, you need to be able to sit quietly, and just listen to others.
But be an active, NOT a passive, listener.
To be an active listener, do the following two things:
- Ask for the speakers ideas on how he-she thinks the future can be made better than the present.
- Ask him to explain his ideas: how does he justify them?
Keep asking questions relating to these two themes, and you will be perceived as a good conversationalist.
For more information about our communication skills training courses visit the Corporate Coach Group website