Communication Is Front and Center
Communication is the be all and end all of all processes in our lives, both inside and outside of the workplace. Communication is all inclusive, as it has to do with tone, with words, with body language, hearing what is not being said and more. It is an essential skill for managers, but everybody could benefit from improving their personal communication and other interpersonal skills. So how is this achieved?
Always Be Listening
The main key to good communication is not speaking, but rather listening.
“Listening is one of the most important aspects of effective communication. Successful listening means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding how the speaker feels about what they’re communicating.” Effective Communication
This means that when someone speaks, you have to make it clear that you have not just heard them, but that you have also understood what they have said. Additionally, as a manager, you must create a culture in which everybody knows that they are safe to voice their thoughts and feelings as well. Furthermore, you must accept that negative emotions are sometimes there, and allow people to find an outlet for these emotions without creating conflict.
Rehearse Your Communication Skills
If you have important messages to deliver, it is important to rehearse how you will say it. There are a number of tools that you could use for this, including writing down what you want to say or even taken acting classes. One other simple tool at your disposal is to use a recording device to listen to yourself.
“To be able to communicate effectively, you need to understand the way you communicate. By recording yourself, you will have the opportunity to listen or even watch yourself talk so you can observe your body language, tone of voice, language command, confidence level and even what causes you to communicate effectively or poorly. Once you make these observations of yourself, it will be easier to improve in some areas so you become an effective communicator.” Interpersonal Communication Skills: What They Are and How to Improve Them?
If you are specifically training yourself for an important speech or delivery, you should also take into consideration any questions that others may ask. Think about whether or not you will be interrupted during your delivery and how you will respond to that. Anticipate the response, but think outside of the box. There will always be one person that has a question that throws spanners in the works.
Ownership of Your Message
One final and very important issue is to always have ownership of your message. If you start anything with “he said” or “they wanted you to know that,” you are not making the message your own. This means that your listeners will immediately lose interest, because they feel as if the message that is being delivered was obviously not important enough to deliver in person. If you want people to hear what you have to say, you must make the message yours.
“Ownership means taking responsibility for the ideas and feelings that you express.”
How to Improve Your Interpersonal Communication Skills
Even if the message is actually from someone else, if you have been charged with delivering it, then it needs to become yours. If you cannot do this, then you don’t believe in the message either. This is a skill that is particularly important in management and leadership, but you can actually apply it everywhere in life. Even within parenthood, for instance, “mom said” generally has less impact than “I think,” although the child may listen more to “mom said” because mom is the boss. However, this takes away credibility of you if you are the father and makes you less important.