Some people may say, “Communication is easy.” At Dardis, we say talking is easy, but communication requires greater skill. We also believe that great communicators can be learned. Here are some tips, maybe even refreshers, to get you started:
- Choose words wisely. Rely on clear, positive language and straightforward sincerity to foster shared understanding and earn the support of others.
- Follow through. If you make a promise, follow through with action, even if the action ends up being an explanation of why the promise can’t be enacted.
- Be an active listener. Concentrate on the speaker’s message, and resist distractions. Indicate you understand what the speaker is saying by reframing key points.
- Manage conflict. Set ground rules that create a safe haven for dialogue. Identify and reiterate common ground or common goals and focus on areas of agreement. Don’t force a resolution. You may need to agree to disagree.
- Respond, don’t react. Responding mindfully, rather than reacting emotionally, requires self-knowledge and discipline. It allows us to be more effective in our communication.
- Provide feedback. Many of us soften feedback, at the expense of clarity, to avoid confrontation. Provide specific examples that illustrate and support your feedback. Don’t forget positive feedback either.
- Keep the team in the know. Let employees know how their efforts compare to their performance goals and how they are supporting the total picture.
- Connect with employees. Since some employees may not have frequent contact with you, create opportunities to do so. Sincere face-to-face interaction is key.
- Rely on communication resources and training. Studies show that the most successful leaders know their limitations and seek out expertise to further develop and refine their communication skills.