29 May Communicating Effectively
Our next discovery along the EQ spectrum is communicating effectively. Effective communicators use language and imagery to build shared consciousness with their audience. Whether in a one-on-one, team, or organization-wide setting, connecting to others through communication allows a leader to facilitate the adoption of new ideas or clarify shared values to enable extraordinary performance.
Defining (Effective) Communication
Effective communication is the ability to understand the perspective of the audience, and to introduce, conceptualize, or clarify ideas in ways that lead others to understand, believe, and act.
Benefits of Communicating Effectively
Communication is a skill we can practice. If we focus intention and effort on improving, we will continue to grow into master communicators.
The most critical communication opportunities, times we can really make a difference if we become effective communicators, are when we advocate for change or nurture the essential.
Advocating for change is inherently difficult. People tend to hesitate to let go of the status quo. Master communicators identify and engage the values of their audience to clarify why what exists doesn’t align with the highest possible good, and light the path toward a different and better future. If you are someone who wants to see change happen, mastering communication is critical to your journey as a leader.
Communication isn’t always a call to action. Communication can also work like the oil in an engine, keeping the most important parts working properly so the engine can effectively operate. When we use communication to nurture the essential, we reinforce values, decisions, or commitments that are central to the success of the relationship, team, or organization. For those who want to keep the most important things in life and business healthy, it is imperative we learn to address essential topics in fresh, clarifying ways.
The Bottom Line
Master communicators harness the power of language to advance their purpose for maximum impact.
Tactics to Ensure Effective Communication
- Master your presence: Anchoring to your purpose will help you have the courage to say what needs to be said, and to gain clarity on your communication goals. Effective communicators win people over and create the trust needed to address the elephants in the room. To be able to say uncomfortable things, it can be helpful to name your fears, and show vulnerability up front. Great communicators are attuned to their audience and adjust in real time. The confidence and discipline to stop mid-presentation and ask if others have questions, where they lack clarity, or for their thoughts can launch good communicators to greatness.
- Hone your message: When you are clear on your purpose and goals get out of your own head and into the minds of your audience. Take their perspective, and identify their needs and values. Standard messages almost always need to be customized for every unique audience; consider cultural norms, worldview, and learning styles. “Cut the “fat” – remove what is inessential, anecdotes or language that are meaningful to you but not to the audience. Remember “the medium is the message”; picking up the phone, setting up a video call, or walking across the office to have critical conversations is much more effective than email or chat. Text is not the medium for conflict or inspiration.
- Own your space: Consider the setting – which direction the light comes from, whether you are sitting or standing, how the room is arranged. Make sure you are looking into the light so that you are well-lit, and if possible, arrive early to rearrange the room to create the most effective space for others to receive your message. Even as a team contributor, arriving early allows you to choose the best seat from which to most influence outcomes. Apply the same principles to virtual deliveries as well – your camera should be at eye level and you should be adequately lit. Arrange your screens and windows so you can clearly see as many people as possible. Memorize content so you can focus on non-verbal feedback of the audience when presenting.
- Ask for feedback: It’s your responsibility to make it easy for others to give you feedback. Make it a habit to reach out to those you trust and ask for honest feedback after a presentation or meeting. The more feedback cycles you experience that faster you will master communication, and ultimately, be more effective at fulfilling your personal purpose.
Going forward, what are some actions you can take to master presence, hone your message or own your setting to communicate more effectively?
- For further reading, see competency 7: “Communicates Effectively” in the Korn Ferry Leadership Architect™ FYI® for your improvement.
- Crucial Conversations
- Who’s Your Audience?
- LinkedIn Learning – Virtual Executive Presence
Next: Defaulting to Action