Here’s a little trivia: The art of communication is the language of leadership, with that said it is obvious that communication is key to every aspect within an organisation,
without it nothing gets done and can result in a lack of growth and productivity.
Ask any group of employees about the challenges they face in their organisation and most often communication issues are close to the top of the list even though there is no lack of information, strategies or training available on the subject. In fact a recent Google search using the key words “communication articles” revealed 945 million hits. Why do organisations still encounter a corporate divide when it comes to communication?
Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know – in many instances, communication is seen from the communicators’ perspective but what about the perspective of the listener - the listeners’ needs and frame of reference needs to be integrated into the message or the communication will remain inadequate.
Communication is the real work of leadership and when communicating for action, a strong immediate response from the listener is paramount. Communicators need to determine whether the listener understands the message and is ready to take action.
Many communicators believe they are using the “communicate for action” style when in reality they are merely giving a “convincing” or “informing” message which results in a disconnect between themselves and the listeners. Avoid the miscommunication by determining the desired response from engaged listeners. Apply these three steps to achieve effective communication.
1. The spoken word belongs half to him who speaks and half to him who listensTelling vs. communicating: When telling someone what to do, their perspectives are ignored. This leads to limited passion, unsatisfactory outcomes and disgruntled listeners. To avoid miscommunication, as a communicator you need to determine the desired listener response before presenting the message. Messages need to be positioned with how the outcome benefits the listeners rather than yourself then wrapping up with a clear and concise call to action that demonstrates these benefits.
2. First learn the meaning of what you say and then speakUnderstanding the listeners perspective: In order to present the messages in a way that will encourage listeners to act, provide a relevant background and define the desired action by emphasising the benefit for the listener thus facilitating the engagement process.
3. Provide the information to avoid making up something to fill the voidImportance of message consistency: Always present a perspective on why the communication is important. Be clear on the action desired while plainly stating the benefit of taking the suggested action with every message. Implementing this will clear up miscommunication, allowing colleagues to take action needed for organisational success.
Effective communicate we must accept that we all have various ways in which we perceive the world, use this understanding as a guide to your communication with others. Remember, words should be used as tools of communication and not as a substitute for action.
Neville De Lucia is the New Business Development Director for Dale Carnegie Gauteng.