Business leaders are expected to have many skills to draw upon in their role as owner, manager or department head. One of the most important tools that every business leader should is the ability to be an effective communicator. Facilitating information sharing in a positive and easy-to-understand manner can substantially contribute to the success of a business. Let’s look at the key elements of being (or becoming) an effective communicator.
A good communicator has. . .
- Clarity of Message – Good communicators communicate clearly whether in writing, speaking or via body language. Ambiguous statements or questions not only show a lack of knowledge of the topic or problem but an inability to deal with the situation. Effective communicators organize their thoughts, speak with a confident voice, project their voice, make eye contact and answer or speak with a purpose.
- An Understanding of the Audience – An effective communicator knows who they are talking to, and they understand the style of communication will vary based on the recipient. For example, you probably talk to your co-workers very differently than you talk to your boss. Good communicators look for feedback from the audience to signal they understand such as: smiles, nodding heads or eye contact. An effective communicator can read those signals and cater his/her message to the needs of the audience.
- Effective listening skills – Communication is not just one way. Effective listening means really hearing what the other person is saying as well. In order to be a good communicator, paraphrase what the other person is saying, ask questions, and use body language to indicate that you are hearing what the person is saying.
- Self evaluation skills – An effective communicator can self regulate things like: tone of voice, filler words (like um or ah), distracting body language signals, eye contact, and facial expressions.
- A Positive Attitude – An effective communicator is positive even in the face of harsh criticism. Obviously, be authentic in the personality you portray but also keep in mind that no one likes to hear repeatedly, “No”, “You can’t” or “Not possible”. Keep messages positive and answer any criticisms with professionalism and, if possible, a smile.