“Communication is the currency of leadership”
Nearly every important task a leader must execute involves some form of communication.
This is such a true statement your leadership style can be defined by your communication. So how do you improve your leadership skills in this area? And why is it important?
If you lead a team then delivering a clear, well-organized message can either hinder or help you move your team into action.
Its also important to consider your non verbal cues. Have you ever watched yourself on video? If not this is something you might want to consider to develop your communication skills.
Early on in my career back in the UK part of our training was to present to a group and be recorded. It was painful but so powerful to watch our own body and mannerisms on camera. It helped me allot figure out how to engage and present to an audience. Most managers think that presentation skills are only for public speakers.
However if you hold one minute meetings or management meetings and one on ones with your team then learning how to present yourself in a way that makes an impact is a major skill that will connect you and your team. The best leaders are ones that can engage an audience.
If you are inclined to be more of an introvert this may be a challenge for you but I do believe you can master it with practice.
One of the easiest expressions to do is SMILE, so why do so many people forget this? Anxiety and thinking about what they need to say. I learned along time ago to say right before I get up to speak to a large audience instead of sitting there thinking over and over again about what I need to say I ask myself “what do they need to know”. I say this 3 minutes before I stand up to speak or even in meetings and it really works.
Always remember to Taylor to your audience. If you are holding a one minute meeting or huddle with the part time sales team versus holding a call with your boss it sounds obvious you’re wording and tone would be different however many managers don’t actually think about this. But if you want to have a high impact delivery then you need to see communication as a strategic issue. You need to be persuading to the right people at the right time and the right verbiage. Your part time staff if working on the sales floor with customers need to hit the floor engaged and with something that can make a difference in the way they interact with customers. So think about what you need to say. Too many times managers give too much info and make it highly directional. Working in retail for many years the best one minute meetings are ones that get their teams excited pumped and are two way not one way.
Next time you start a sales huddle ask yourself are you doing all the talking? If so stop and ask a few more questions. Another good tip is to ask your team “What they learned” at the end of the huddle that will change the way they help customers today? Or “How will they share the information with their customers?” this will support you validate if your communication is high delivery or needs some improvement.
To develop this very important leadership skill try the following:
- All though each opportunity is not a formal presentation, try approaching all of your messages as if they were for two weeks. It will teach you how to lend high impact to your communication delivery.
- Seek out assignments that require you to make presentations to your peers.
- Identify a mentor and observe that person.
- Coach others on their communication. Break down and provide feedback what they did well and what could be improved.
- When being asked a question by an individual in a group address the entire group with the answer.
- Keep it concise. Get to the point and keep your focus on what is important to the audience, not to you.
- Avoid Jargon. Speak in terms your audience can understand. In retail we have our own language.
- Be human. Tell people how you are handling a situation. Nothing is perfect your team don’t expect you to be. Just don’t complain share solutions.
- Summarize major points in a discussion. It will help people focus on the important issues.
In summary developing high impact delivery communication is necessary for all levels of management no matter how big or small your team is.
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