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Great Leaders Are Great Communicators. Here's How They Do It!
By Gaby Feile
Leading is about people. And whenever people interact, they communicate. So, would it be fond to say that every leader needs to be a great communicator? I don't think so. Communication is a huge chance to learn something new each day. So, have a look at the following 9 steps that you can take to be a great communicator aka a great leader:
1. Walk around
If you don't meet anyone all day, communicating is rather difficult. Sure, you can write e-mails or texts, yet real dialogues are only created when people look each other in the eyes, or at least talk on the phone. When you show your face you give your team, your colleagues, clients and visitors the opportunity to approach you. Think about Barak Obama or the Queen of England: When they travel they always take the time to shake hands and to talk with people.
2. Ask questions
We are all very self-centred, even though we don't want to admit this. So, most of us like to talk about ourselves, want to share our opinion and want to be taken seriously. Knowing this, asking questions is the easiest and most effective way to show off your communication skills when meeting people. They will remember you and will consider you a conversationalist - even if you don't talk much.
3. Listen closely
Asking questions is great yet if you don't listen what the other person says, it's useless. People will notice if you don't focus. So make sure you turn your attention (and your body) towards the person you talk to, look them in the eyes, nod occasionally and ask further questions. You will be amazed by the amount of new insights you can gain.
If you want to maintain good relationships with your team members (and with other people), you need to remember some facts about them. Try to know at least two or three things about others such as: family, holidays, hobbies, interests, favourite music etc. This way it will be easy for you to start a conversation next time you meet one of your employees, like at the staff party or in the lift.
5. Show interest
Whenever you meet one of your team members take the time to talk to them briefly by using the information you gathered. A quick question about the family, or a remark about their favourite football team can break the ice easily. Even a simple ‘How are you?' can make a huge difference if you take the time to actually listen to the reply. Tip: watch people's eyes when you talk to them. Do they sparkle?
6. Share information
Giving the fact that employees share their sometimes private issues with you, they do expect you to share important information with them. There's no need to tell them all about your children's problems at school, yet talking a little bit about your private live makes you human. Even more important, however, is to share information that is relevant for the staff. Share which clients are visiting this week, tell them that there's a meeting going on about an issue that they are all related to or simply talk about recent successes.
7. Be transparent
Do share business and financial information and tell the truth, along with possible solutions, if things get tough. This way, people will actually be able to do their job and do not need to speculate if their job is safe. If you involve them early enough they might even come up with ideas. Generation Y, in particular, expects you to share anything with them. After all, this is what they see and do on Facebook and other social networks.
8. Put yourself in the shoes of others
Always ask: What it is that your staff wants to know? Look at anything through their eyes and try to understand their perspective, their fears and their needs. Communicate with them in a trustworthy and authentic way. This is important for e-mails you send, for meetings you chair and for new strategies you explain. And don't forget: One size does not fit all! So you better tailor your communications to the audience — every time.
9. Walk your talk
Always live what you communicate. If you make an announcement about major cost savings, you should be part of it as well. You will lose credit if you ask people to dramatically reduce their expenses while you yourself keep flying business class on domestic flights. If you want everyone to wear a name tag, wear one, too. If you want your employees to be in the office at 9 am the latest, be there as well. If you expect people to communicate clearly, be a good example.
Following the above tips not only makes you a great communicator, it also helps you to go one step further: to connect with people. You will be able to inspire others, to build trust and to find common ground. All in all, you will have better relationships.
If you want to find out how good a communicator you are, take this little test
And in case you would like to know more about how to communicate better, turn to my blog and read the following articles:
Influencing people positively
I am curious:
What is it that you do to be a great communicator and a great leader? What does your boss do to connect with you?
Please do share your tips right here. I would love to read them. Thank you.
About Gaby Feile
"I have learnt most things from reading, travelling and asking questions." (Gaby Feile)
Since the age of 5, Gaby Feile has been fascinated by words. She read the newspapers before entering school and could write as early as this. Her personal writing style has been influenced by an international life style and an open mind. Gaby has learned to listen with her eyes and speak with her hands and has become an excellent observer and appreciated listener. She knows that asking questions is more important and more effective than making statements.
With her company "Kommboutique", Gaby delivers feel-good communication that creates memorable moments through positive emotions. People who like her approach can book her as a copywriter, moderator, or idea producer.
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