Communicate Clearly for Leadership

How I Learned to Communicate Clearly for Leadership

 It all started when I asked myself the question, “Why do I want to   become an exceptional communicator?”

 It’s a rather long story, but familiar enough. As a child, I was bullied a  lot in elementary school. In university, I learned to compensate by  becoming the center of the social scene. For example, to draw positive  attention towards me, I would organise fabulous parties every  weekend.

As I got older, that sort of thing didn’t work as well, and as often happens, I sort of lost my interest in parties. Instead, I honed my skills and learned to manipulate people, which landed me an exciting job with the government.

It all started when I asked myself the question, “Why do I want to become an exceptional communicator?”

It’s a rather long story, but familiar enough. As a child, I was bullied a lot in elementary school. In university, I learned to compensate by becoming the center of the social scene. For example, to draw positive attention towards me, I would organise fabulous parties every weekend.

As I got older, that sort of thing didn’t work as well, and as often happens, I sort of lost my interest in parties. Instead, I honed my skills and learned to manipulate people, which landed me an exciting job with the government.

Basically, my job was to befriend people to gather human intelligence. I participated in those activities for well over a decade. I learned a tremendous amount in those years in order to survive – I mean, really survive, as in not getting killed. There’s a very real world out there that less than .01 percent of the population knows even exists – a real cloak and dagger world.

Later, I decided I wanted to make a positive difference in the world, teaching others about communication. I could share the lessons I learned about the art of persuasion and influence. I knew these skills would help others learn to be leaders and make this a better world. It was time to use these skills for good. (Funny thing – some people approach me about fine-tuning their skills, but they don’t have other peoples’ best interests at heart.)

Anyway, here’s a list of things I found necessary and/or very useful for communicating clearly.

First, Slow Down

First, I need to have a clear vision of my message in my own head. I need to know what it is I want to communicate. I need to know what outcome I want long-term and short-term. As a teacher and leader, I need to know what I want to communicate and what result I want. Only then can I figure out how to best construct the message for my audience.

Second, Consider Your Audience

The second most crucial element in communication is the ability to shift my focus. I need to stop thinking about myself and start focusing on the other person. If I forget to shift my thinking to consider my audience, my message may be lost in the ether between my listener and me.

Third, Know Who You Are Talking To

Third, I need to research my audience, understand who they are. Some call these demographics, but there is more to it than mere data and logistics. I must understand their problems, motivations and the challenges that they face. Only then can I figure out how I can best help them.

Finally, when I offer a solution, it’s critical to repeat the suggestion at least three times. When I explain any key point, I repeat that message a minimum of three times.

Also, keep in mind, just having their phone nearby reduces people’s ability to focus. So, I am always careful to be sure the person heard me and took note of what I said. Sometimes, I even explain why I repeat myself, so they don’t think that I think they are dumb.

Here are 2 related articles:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2017/06/27/just-looking-smartphone-makes-less-intelligent-study-finds/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/robasghar/2014/11/10/4-ways-your-smartphone-is-making-you-dumber/#260da04d7f2c

You need patience to hear the other person out, to listen to what’s being said and what is not being said. Also, keep in mind that it’s not important, nor does the other person particularly care how much you know or how smart you are. “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” may or may not be a quote from the US President Theodore Roosevelt, but it is true. For intellectual and academic types, this can be a difficult pill to swallow, I know, because I are one.

Let Go

So, trying to show-off how much you know hinders good communications. I had to learn not to show off how much I know the hard way. I am a bit of an intellectual and admittedly love to show off how smart I am. In a strange paradox, the older I become, with more experience, knowledge, and wisdom, the dumber I’ve become. Meaning, I don’t feel the need to prove myself. Plus, when I have the opportunity to speak with someone gifted, I want to listen and learn.

This curiosity and the fundamental interest in what the other person has to say is an excellent foundation for communication. Dale Carnegie talks about this in his all-time best-selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

As I learn to give space to others, contract my ego (a bit), my communication exchanges are enhanced as others express themselves.

Mindfulness for Better Communication

Practicing mediation and mindfulness allows me to slow down, let go and more easily focus on other people. I see better what they are saying and observe more accurately the minor nonverbal messages that I might otherwise miss. I find these tell-tale non-verbal cues send vital messages so that I can see into the other person’s inner world. In these clues, I read the messages of their feelings and inner thoughts; sometimes, they are not even aware they send.

Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this person’s experience?” Other people’s experiences can teach me a lot and even save time, energy, resources, and money. Even if I disagree with their points of view, I learn from their perspectives.

Helping others feel good about themselves is an excellent interpersonal skill and ability to have. It will help you go further in all areas of your life.

 Watch some of my informative videos, where I discuss the importance   of active listening

 

 “People may not remember what you said, but invariably will always   remember how you made them feel.”       Maya Angelou

Communication coach

Covid-19 and Interpersonal Communications – A Quick Personal Observation

I’d like to make a quick comment on how I see interpersonal communications affected by Covid-19. I see side effects of this Covid-19 era as people seem to separate into small clusters or groups.

Many people seem less accessible, less open, less friendly, and hyper-fearful – it’s really rather sad. This ultimately triggers that mammalian fight-fear reaction in the brain, which isn’t helpful for progressive communication. I fear these reactions will be hard to undo, but I am using mindfulness to help my brain find a balance in the meantime.