Tips for Boosting Leadership Communications
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There is a famous phrase: “You are what you eat.“It seems to me that every book on management and cooperation with employees should begin with the words, “You are what you say.“Continuing the analogy,”Your business looks the way you present it.“
As my career progressed, I began to realize the importance of communication skills in leadership as they began to influence not only the productivity of the teams under my leadership, but also the development of the team. business in general.
In this article, I share my view on the importance of communication skills for a leader and some tips that help me represent the company to different audiences.
Why Every Leader Needs to Improve Their Communication Skills
As your business grows, you will need to do reviews and interviews, speak on behalf of the business, and communicate with partners on multiple occasions. From this point on, the success of your business depends on how you communicate with your audience.
People need people, which is why the public associates companies and their products with company representatives, even when representatives shy away from publicity. Leaders also disseminate company values, influencing public perception of the company.
At the same time, the responsibility increases accordingly – the future of the company depends on what the leaders of the company say. Words spread to every corner of the globe in seconds, so you need to carefully watch what you say, where and how you say it. At this point, you need to learn to control your emotions and hone your public speaking skills.
Related: 9 best practices to improve your communication skills and become a more effective leader
How I realized it was time for me to improve my communication skills
As the company has grown internationally, and since I became co-CEO of Parimatch Tech, communication has developed considerably. As a partner, I used to comment publicly on only a fairly narrow range of legal matters. But now I engage in negotiations with partners, regulators, government officials, and representatives of the country’s IT industry at events such as WebSummit and giving multiple interviews to journalists. At one point, so many important negotiations were taking place that I felt the need to improve the way I communicated with different audiences.
Tips for Communicating Your Thoughts Directly to the Target
No, I’m not the kind of person who can inspire colleagues to move mountains or launch spaceships with just a few well-chosen words. But I follow some tips and tricks that help me connect with people and more accurately convey company values to our partners. Here are some tips I’ve come up with along the way.
It’s never too late to learn from the professionals
If we want to learn to drive, we go to a driving school. Communication skills are developed using the same approach. I have to admit that I don’t train regularly with a mentor. However, I train periodically to develop public speaking skills. Also, when preparing for important conferences or meetings, I privately rehearse and practice my speech with a public speaking mentor. It’s never too late to learn.
Related: Become a better leader by improving your communication skills
Humor is a delicate tool
Humor helps”break the ice”, but it is important to know when to use it. Humor exists in a situation of deep understanding of the general context. When the contexts are surprisingly different, people don’t get the joke – and that creates distance.
I decided not to make jokes when the contexts are too different. Think about the components: same organization, same language, same geography, same age, same gender, same interests, same culture, etc. The more dots that don’t match, the worse the joke.
But when you’re sure you’re meeting the context and understanding the culture, cracking jokes with people from other organizations and cultures helps build trust quickly. A joke always carries the risk of being misunderstood, but going through that risk together builds trust.
Don’t be afraid to be yourself
It’s vital to gaining public trust because it’s hard to sympathize with someone who is “perfect.” And where there is no empathy, there is no trust. Accepting your past failures as an essential part of the journey, acknowledging them and learning from them is helpful. Share your failures with your audience and people will trust you more.
Immediacy, honesty and simply being yourself are essential attributes for a leader who wants to earn trust. Showing weakness is allowed and sometimes necessary, but do so wisely and only when appropriate.
Related: The hidden first step of the negotiation? Don’t lose your sense of humor.
Try to avoid the information vacuum trap
Since you are the boss, you can imagine that your listeners cling to your every word. But this is not necessarily the case. Abusing corporate jargon and cliches, adopting a formal tone, giving evasive answers to questions, and making tedious textual presentations from paper-written speeches are sure ways to lose your audience in boredom, skepticism, and most likely sleep. This approach neither inspires nor convinces anyone.
To avoid these pitfalls, collect feedback or ask people to share what they learned from your presentation. You will be surprised, but in a third of the cases people tell you something completely different from what you told them – this is a clear sign that you failed to convey the idea. Always analyze these cases, look for your miscommunications and get feedback from people you trust.
The tongue can lie, but not the body
Before you open your mouth, the rest of your body has already started speaking for you: facial expressions, gestures and looks. The body doesn’t always follow the tongue, and even an acting background won’t help you fool an attentive audience. Body language is something to keep in mind, especially if you have something to hide.
Hiding information has a cumulative negative effect
Concealment can easily lead to managerial failure. By hiding your goals, the business will follow the wrong path and the wrong result will be achieved instead of the one you need. Therefore, goals and strategies must be communicated transparently.
This communication can happen during team syncs and, in the case of a company, during company meetings.
Mistakes are the best teacher
Everyone does, even the best of us. That’s why I study the areas of my communications that my listeners misunderstand, and focus on them. To find problem areas, you need to watch people’s reactions to your words and learn to read non-verbal signs of irritation or loss of attention.
A few words in conclusion
Leadership communication should engage the listener, involve them in the vision, build trust, inspire confidence and energize.
To attract the best specialists, you have to convince them that they would be better off working with you. Along with providing a clear view of the interaction, engagement also helps. There is a formula for creating engagement: be yourself, be honest, demonstrate your past accomplishments and present a strategy for the future.
As with any skill, effective communication takes practice. Practice, get feedback and keep working on it – it will have a positive impact not only on your business, but also on your personal life.