As a leader, you know the importance of frequent communication with your team. But did you know that in a recent poll of 1,000 employees, communicating well was the one critical skill that 91 percent of respondents said their leaders lacked? (Source: Inc) Truly effective leadership communication requires more than simply a well-planned cadence and content. Here are some actions leaders can consistently employ to become more effective communicators:
For every message you deliver, no matter how big or small, it’s critical to first take the time to consider what you want your audience to think, feel, and do. This ensures leadership communication is meaningful, impactful, and achieve their intended outcome. Segmenting your audience into distinct groups can help you tailor your message to better reach your people. For example, it may be helpful to segment based on hierarchy for internal communications and consider how your message will resonate differently with employees, managers, and other leaders. Remember to be clear, and give the appropriate context up front, to ensure the impact of your messaging lands.
Speak from the heart — people pay more attention when you let your personality and humanity shine through. Truly think about your people, what may be on their minds, and what they might be going through when you deliver communications to them. What is the current emotional climate of your organization? What is happening internally within the company, and more broadly around the world? Be sensitive to this as you communicate with your team. Be prepared, not just to speak, but to be curious and to listen deeply to feedback, concerns, and questions from your team.
Words can energize or polarize. Use words and messages that are universally understood and avoid slang or jargon. It’s especially important to be aware of differences in meaning if you’re speaking to a global audience and your message may be translated into other languages. Take the time to think about the variety of viewpoints and backgrounds of your individual team members and how your message will be received.
Looking for ways to become an effective leader by improving your communication techniques? Download our Effective Communication Planning Guide for Leaders.