Communication and leadership go hand in hand. You can’t be a great leader without having good communication skills. Communication is the thread that connects ideas and leads to creativity. From the initial conversation to how it is communicated is what can spark and mold a new idea. So how do you become a better communicator? We all learned how to communicate when we were young but somewhere along the way, we forgot the basics.
Just remember these 5 simple steps and your communication skills will improve.
Authentic: Good communication starts with authenticity. Become engaged and personable. Build a relationship with the person you are speaking with and always be truthful. Remember Mark Twain’s quote, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything”.
Empathy: Don’t forget you are talking to a person and you were once in their shoes. Deliver your message with care and empathy. Even bad news. When there is a sense that you care, people respect you. Harper Lee says it best, “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view... Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”
Be fully present: Probably one of the most important things, is to listen intently. Become totally present in the conversation and concentrate on what is being said. By letting the other person fully finish, without interrupting, you are able to listen more carefully. Listening with intent will give you a better sense for what is truly being communicated and will help you to respond. "When people talk, listen completely. Most people never listen."~ Ernest Hemmingway
Be clear and specific: Get to the point. It is important that what you deliver is clear and concise. In today’s busy time, you need to be able to cut to the chase and deliver a message that is direct and not confusing. Often, when we deliver bad news, we beat around the bush. People respect honest and direct conversation, even in tough times. "Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing." ~ Rollo May
Ask empowering questions: After listening ask an empowering question. Empowering questions can lead to new ideas. They are the questions that allow the other person to think and not just answer with one word. Use “what”, “how” and “why” and you will be surprised with the response. As Bill Gates stated, “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others”.
According to Decker Communications some of the best communicators of today’s times include Robin Williams for his “in the moment and inspiring way”, Jimmy Fallon for his “authenticity and conversational manner and Adam Silver of the NBA for his keen sense of listening.