Communication is the key to understanding any issue between two or more parties. An efficient leader must never stand in front of his people without the skill of effective communication.
President Gerald Ford once said, “Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.” This is because without the ability to communicate, a leader cannot effectively cast his vision and call his people to act on that vision. Just imagine how a group of people could make a decision if their leader cannot even direct the flow of conversations.
In many ways, effective communication begins with mutual respect. It should bring out inspirations, encouragement, or instructions for others to do their best. When you respect people, you will never appear rude to them. Consequently, by treating them with respect, you get cooperation, enthusiastically given instead of forcefully given. Respected individuals are going to work harder to become peak performers, wanting to do more and more.
If people like you, they will work harder for you. Otherwise, they might be working just to keep their jobs, but not really giving their best efforts. People might perform to keep their jobs because duty and responsibility demand that they do a job well. However, love and encouragement enable people to do work remarkably. When you communicate to people that you genuinely like and respect them, and follow that up with consistency of action, you establish rapport with and confidence in your people that will make a difference.
Communication is not necessarily an easy skill to learn, but it really begins with seriously listening to what other people say. By listening with respect, you will learn things that can make a difference. Consistency will be the result, and consistent performance is the key to excellence.
Bringing Out the Effective Communicator in You
Effective communication is not about what we want to say, but what we want the people around us to understand about the things we say. In The 100 Simple Secrets of Successful People by David Niven, Ph.D, the success secret of Newsman David Brinkley is revealed. He credits a teacher’s simple advice for much of his success, “He said to me, ‘The faster you speak, the less people will understand you. Take that to heart,’ And I did.”
Besides speaking slowly, which we got from the excerpt above, here are other ways to develop effective communication skills:
1. Discuss, don’t argue. The purpose of having conversations between you and other people is to exchange views and information, and to know what they think about certain topics. A good leader explains calmly what he believes in and never gets affected by any tension that might arise.
2. Focus on the speaker. Those who tend to focus mainly on themselves and their own opinions are not effective communicators. To be a good communicator, focus on the response of the people you are talking to. Read both their verbal and non-verbal signs.
3. Learn to listen. A successful communication model tells us that when communicator 1 speaks, communicator 2 listens (and vice versa). This way, all messages are received and understood. Allow others to speak their minds. During this time, what you ought to do is listen to what they have to say.
4. Develop eye contact while communicating. Making eye contact to the people you are talking to or people talking to you displays integrity and conviction. Tell them through such gesture that you are interested and willing to continue the conversation.
5. Never forget to smile. They say that it takes 47 muscles to frown, but only 17 to smile. Besides spending lesser effort on such gesture, smiling is a sign of opening the lines of communication and welcoming other people to join the conversation. Maxwell reminds, “A smile overcomes innumerable communication barriers, crossing the boundaries of culture, race, age, class, gender, education, and economic status.