Practicing Effective Communication Skills
Good and effective communication skills is something you work at… day in and day out. It is most certainly a practice! Having good communication skills, whether it be peer-to-peer, to employees, to your board of directors, to your customers, strategic partners, and even your personal life, is a KEY component to getting to the next level – and one of the top consistent struggles most leaders & entrepreneurs have.
Here are some things to consider every time you are trying to communicate a message:
What is the best channel? is it a phone? video? face-to-face? email? text? Consider the context and the use of the message. it is informative? Is it emotional? Is it to motivate and inspire? reprimand? By choosing the right channel by the type of message allows your communications to be received more effectively.
Senders and Receivers
Every single communication has a sender and a receiver. The sender encodes a message, uses a channel to reach a receiver in which the receiver then decodes the message and interprets the message. There is no guarantee that this decoding is an exact copy of the encoded message!! There are many barriers that can “scramble” a message for a receiver. To mitigate against these barriers and confusion, practice active listening, and ask clarifying questions, even if you think it is “dumb,” in order to be sure the encoding and decoding of a message are the same!
Ask “What did you hear me say?” as a sender. As a receiver say “this is what I heard you say… is that what you meant?”
as leaders, it is important to be getting feedback on all communications you perform. Whether it is a team meeting, town hall, event presentation, email, or 1:1, always be asking for feedback from your team. This helps you improve your own communication skills by facilitating reflection and it allows your team to feel like a team, facilitating employee ownership mentality, which has many benefits to your business.
Use Scorecards to better keep people informed about performance. A lot of business communications can be around performance. It is important to keep some sort of numerical communication system, such as a scorecard, so that all parties can objectively understand, and thus communicate clearly, about performance. Numbers can speak louder than words!
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