Connectivity doesn’t equal connection. Show me a workplace where everyone is connected 24/7 by email, instant messaging, social media, and smart phones, and I’ll show you a workplace where words become just so much white noise.
To rise about the din today, you need great communication skills. Not good skills, but great skills. If you work to develop exceptional communication skills, here’s the impact you can expect.
The very essence of leadership is communication. Leadership involves communicating a vision and a goal, helping a team develop strategy to meet that goal, inspiring a team to achieve that goal, and rewarding a team when they do so. Nothing happens without communication.
Think of meetings you’ve participated in where some new idea surfaced. If an idea “takes off” and moves to the next stage (an implementation team), who most likely becomes the leader for that initiative? The person who articulates the mission most clearly, compellingly, and passionately.
Members of the group recognize leadership potential quickly by a person’s communication skills—or lack thereof.
Even when not in a leadership position, great communication skills expand your influence. Your ability to
gives you the edge in many persuasive situations: Formal presentations. Writing—email, reports, proposals. Team meetings. C-suite meetings. Even in informal hallway conversations.
As I wrote years ago in my book Communicate With Confidence, the sum of your relationships equals your interactions stacked end to end. The more adept at asking strategic, guiding, perceptive questions, the better leader and the better conversationalist you become. That is, if you listen, probe, clarify, feedback, analyze, and reflect on what you discover, you’ll “up” your communication game.
The more you learn about others, the deeper the relationship, the stronger your influence, and the better you can lead and serve them.
Miscommunication creates an enormous amount of rework. For example:
None are isolated—or infrequent—incidents.
On the other hand, if you master communication skills—oral and written—then you have fewer of these situations to mop up in your day-to-day work. You’ll reap massive productivity gains simply by knowing how to listen critically, summarize well, organize information, and choose the precise word to get your point across.
Your excellent communication skills can help prevent those conversation replays at 2:00 a.m. : “Should I have said X? …. Or maybe if I’d said Y?” No one sleeps better at night than the person who can say what they mean and mean what they say.
Learn more ways to improve your communication skills in Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire and Get Things Done. Download an excerpt by clicking here or on the image below.