Good communication is the foundation of every successful relationship, from friendships to marriages to business partnerships. But communication itself is made up of many different components.
If you’re a leader in any capacity, these communication skills are crucial to your success.
By far the most important element in communication is listening. Unfortunately, many people confuse “listening” with “waiting for their turn to talk.” This certainly is not the case. Careful listening can help you pick up on otherwise hidden details in another person’s style of speech or choice of words. It also increases your empathy and understanding of others’ wants and concerns, which can help them feel heard and increase camaraderie.
2. Body language
There are two types of benefits to reading body language. You can pick up on the unspoken cues when others speak, which can help you gauge how honest they’re being, or how (un)comfortable they may be. With a better understanding of body language, you can also learn to project the body language you want to convey, such as confidence or ease.
It’s a true but bitter pill to swallow–we all need some feedback and constructive criticism at times. Leaders also have to deliver feedback at times, both positive and negative. The best leaders can deliver feedback in a way that gets their point across without personally criticizing the recipient or making them feel belittled. Good leaders also know how to accept feedback, by letting employees know they are open to suggestions, without getting defensive. Make sure you also aren’t neglecting positive feedback, too.
Leadership can be a difficult balancing act, between being too strict and too permissive, between being too friendly and too authoritarian. Without at least a little bit of friendliness, however, your employees may find you unapproachable, which can hinder the flow of communication. You can still have a friendly atmosphere while maintaining appropriate boundaries.
All of the above skills are easier to develop and use when you have a healthy respect for others, whether they’re your superiors, peers, or employees. Be open to others’ points of view and willing to consider their perspective when communicating and making decisions. This will help your conversations be more productive. You can be respectful of others’ time by avoiding unnecessary meetings, and being clear and direct with your communications. This will also help you gain trust and respect in turn.
Whether you’re sending a memo to your department or writing a guest article for a trade magazine, at some point you will engage in some form of written communication. You don’t have to slave over every word, but it’s important to know exactly what you want to say and consider how the recipients may read it. Reduce unnecessary words and information, and be as concise as possible.
Struggling with that last skill, written communication? That’s what I’m here for!
I work with many different organizations on their marketing content and communications projects to convey ideas, share information, and tell stories more effectively. Shoot me an email or visit emjwriter.com to learn more about what I can do for you.
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