How leaders can communicate in a way which resonates
The role of a leader entails communicating with a variety of people from different roles, on different levels, with different interests daily. Should managers just accept that they are never going to please everyone? Or is people-pleasing communication achievable? Read on to discover our top tips for communicating effectively and in a way which resonates.
Know your audience
First up, it is key that you tailor your communication to the people you are talking to. Knowing your audience will take time. Start with assumptions such as identifying types of people you are talking to. For example, ‘big picture people’ who don’t want lots of detail. Or conversely, those in process-driven roles who need the nitty-gritty details. As you learn more about your audiences you can build on this and tweak your communication style accordingly.
Hand in hand with knowing your audience is building relationships with them. Within PRINCE2 Agile training the value of building relationships is highlighted. The Agile Manifesto values individuals and interactions ahead of processes and tools. It highlights the importance of collaborative practices, and how getting to know others has a direct impact on outcomes. Building relationships with your teams will help you to communicate with them far more effectively.
Back to school
Use of a whiteboard may feel a bit like being in a classroom, but 65% of the population are visual learners, and so something as simple as notes on a whiteboard can ensure what you’re saying resonates. Even just having keywords, key stats, or a simple diagram on the board can help. It sparks ‘information pairing’, whereby those visual learners will be able to recall information better by seeing the visual of the board in their mind.
A picture tells a thousand words
Likewise, whilst sourcing images for a PowerPoint may be a time-consuming undertaking, it can really help. Consider using a presentation or some on-screen slides when videoconferencing to compliment what it is you are talking about. Creating these visual memories can really prevent problems further down the line as it helps your message stick.
Back it up with data
It’s hard to argue with hard facts, so when possible, back up what you are saying with data. That’s not to say that your every communication should be statistics heavy. It’s more a matter of sharing insights, particularly when the facts are influencing your actions. What’s more shared insight will instill trust, and help you to craft an open culture where your team understands the thought-process behind your decisions.
Don’t be afraid to show emotion
Whilst some audiences (we’re looking at you CEOs) may prefer the facts laid bare, for others it is important that you communicate with feelings. Knowing that you are emotionally invested is important for your teams, colleagues, customers, clients and even your direct manager. This comes back to knowing your audience. Strike the right balance when it comes to showing emotion in your communication to be effectively heard.
Make them think
Getting your audience thinking is the perfect way to ensure your communication resonates. Ever notice blank faces staring back at you whilst you give a presentation? It is inevitable that minds are going to wander, we are only human. Never underestimate the power of a rhetorical question for bringing your audience back into the room.
Put it in writing
Meetings, whether formal or informal, can be an information overload for your audience. When shooting to communicate in a way which resonates, it can be a good idea to highlight top level information in a follow up email in order to boost knowledge absorption. Keep it snappy, as it is essentially just there to jog the memory of the points you talked about.
As a leader your time is a precious commodity, and so it is necessary to remove non-essential communication from your daily schedule. However, you must be mindful of where you delegate, as messages can become diluted. Communicating directly with your audiences can prevent frustration and misunderstanding.
Effective communication is a challenge which many leaders face every day. Will your messages resonate and be acted upon in a way which achieves results? By following our top tips above, you will be able to speak, write and present in a way which means your message is heard. Successful communication is pivotal to reaching your career potential, so boost your skills and become an elite communicator!
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