"Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation."
--- Mark Twain
Good communication skills are essential in business. But great communication skills help to make the business even more successful. Whether it is giving direction to an employee, trying to get the best price from a vendor, or explaining the scope of the project to a customer, getting the right message across, at the right time, is critical. We all can improve on how we communicate to others, but it takes a desire and effort to make that happen. But it shouldn't be complicated.
Mark Twain, as only Mark Twain can state, makes it clear in the quote above that many of us tend to get so bogged down in trying to communicate, just right, that we forget the basics of communication. If we are having an issue with an employee or associate, sometimes just sitting across from one another over a cup of coffee and chatting solves the issue with more ease and less clutter than a well-crafted email. Keeping communication simple can open more doors for business, generate more goodwill with vendors, and garner more respect from employees than trying to be someone we are not.
"Take advantage of every opportunity to practice your communication skills so that when important occasions arise, you will have the gift, the style, the sharpness, the clarity, and the emotions to affect other people."
--- Jim Rohn
Taking courses on improving communication skills and reading good books on communication is always helpful. It is fascinating to glean new tools and techniques for delivering, and receiving messages, but we are to adopt those new-found skills to our own personal style of communicating. When we attempt to mimic some of the great communicators, we are likely to come across as phony.
"The ABC's are attitude, behavior and communication skills."
--- Gerald Chertavian
You already know as a leader that others are always watching you. It is not that they are waiting for you to screw things up, (though perhaps some are), but that people look to a leader for direction and guidance. Sometimes they try to emulate your actions. They are looking at your work ethic and attitude, how you behave when things are good and when things are bad, and how you communicate.
"Leadership is a way of thinking, a way of acting and, most importantly, a way of communicating."
--- Simon Sinek
Make it a point to be conscious of how you communicate this month. Take note of how people respond to what you say or write. One good feedback tool you can use is to ask a team member to repeat back to you what you instructed them to do. Caution: you may be surprised with what you hear. In your mind, you gave clear, precise directions, but sometimes the feedback you receive is nowhere near what you thought you delivered.
"I've found that good dialogue tells you not only what people are saying or how they're communicating, but it tells you a great deal - by dialect and tone, content and circumstance - about the quality of the character."
--- E.O. Wilson
Let us make October communication month. Let us all pay attention to what we say, and more importantly, how well we listen to others. Doing this will take us out of our comfort zone, but it will help us to grow and stretch our communication muscles.