“To succeed, you will soon learn, as I did, the importance of a solid foundation in the basics of education – literacy, both verbal and numerical, and communication skills” – Alan Greenspan
Communication skills are of paramount importance, especially in business, where the way you are perceived as manager may make the difference between success and failure of the organization.
As a start, the seven Cs of communication can offer some useful tips for improving it. And they are:
Concrete, Coherent, Clear, Correct, Concise, Courteous, and Complete.
- Concrete: Your message has important facts and details, but the focus of the message is clear.
- Coherent: Your message makes sense. All of your points are relevant and consistent with the flow and tone.
- Clear: The objective of your message is clear to your recipient / s. You yourself must understand its objective.
- Correct: The message is accurate. False information doesn’t help anybody. If the communication is written, check for spelling mistakes.
- Concise: Your message gets straight to the point. It should be as brief as possible.
- Courteous: Make sure your message is friendly, open, and honest, irrespective of what it is about. Show empathy. Avoid passive-aggressive overtures.
- Complete: Your message is complete with a clear call to action. All relevant information has been included in a comprehensible (eighth C!) manner. Your staff understands what you want them to do.
Are always more effective than phone or chat because you can get feedback based on non-verbal behavior, which you wouldn’t if your employee was hiding behind the computer screen. Still, there are some pitfalls to this type of communication too. Some of the main ones are listed below:
- Arms crossed
- Lack of focus, eyes wander
You tell your staff you’re open to discussion, but your arms are crossed. You tell them you’re listening, but your eyes are wandering, or you don’t look up from your phone. Make eye contact, do not yawn and watch your pose. Expand your upper body and take a firm stance, or expand your lower body by taking a wide stance and put your hands on your hips to open your torso.
Focus on your discussion
You know how rude it is to use your phone while someone’s talking to you. If it’s a really important call, take it, but don’t make a habit of ignoring your staff when you’re supposed to be talking to them.
Most teams in an organization have some sense of camaraderie. They are able to read coworkers’ signals and watch each other’s backs. This sense of connection is referred to as affiliation in management circles, and it’s widely considered an essential component of an efficient and effective team. However, too much emphasis on positive relationships, especially by the manager, can actually cause performance to deteriorate. A good manager fosters trust and commitment at the workplace, but personal relationships should not get in the way of work.
Your goal as a leader on all levels is to cultivate enough camaraderie so that their team has a sense of commitment. They, however, should not focus on the value of relationships to the extent where their ability to make tough decisions is impaired. “A leader can’t value harmonious relationships more than putting the conditions in place that will allow the team to do well,” explains J. Richard Hackman, professor of psychology at Harvard University. “If you are a team leader, you don’t want to have the group turn into a nice, comfortable, happy, collegial setting if sharp decisions need to be made–such as who is on or off, or difficult choices around power issues.”
“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom” – Thomas Jefferson
Not all managers are able to encourage open debate, especially those who value relationships the most. To help overcome this obstacle, resist your urge to defend a point of view, shift your focus to getting information from all your staff and get each and every opinion on the table so as to start implementing plans in action.
Managers should clearly state who will make the decision and how. This will make the team feel appreciated. The process should include briefing the team after the meeting as well. What’s more, a manager should be wary of excuse makers. Never make excuses for underperforming staff – it’s a sign you value relationships over performance. To avoid this pitfall, the manager should establish specific goals for all staff and measure results against those goals while soliciting feedback from other members of the team.
Repeat what you heard
It’s normal to drift off in a meeting, but it looks bad when the manager is doing it. Be alert, ask questions and repeating the other person’s last few words to show you are listening and you care about what he or she has to say.
Let your staff feel you understood the emotions behind what they had to say. Do not speak to everyone the same way – one common mistake is talking to subordinates like children. Adopt a different tone with a peer, and a third one with a superior. Always try to keep the other person’s perspective in mind when you try to get your message across. Give staff your focus and develop a workable strategy to make yourself available.
Opening and closing lines
Get to the point. Start with “This meeting is about…” and end with “Any questions?” and “Thank you for your time.”
Having good communication skills in the workplace is important. A lifelong process in the human life, COMMUNICATION is a way to express oneself in various ways: using words and without using a single word.
Check my next post about Email writing skills.