Before you begin this article ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Poor communication is listed as the number one leadership lack. Why is that?
  2. Do you recognize that people are not alike? If you do, can you quickly identify their communications style?
  3. Do you communicate to customers and employees in their personality language? 

 George Bernard Shaw stated: The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.

Do You Feel That Your Communications Style is Right for Everyone? Most of us do! We believe that when our mouth is moving and sounds are coming out that, others understand what we are saying. This is not true for the most part!

The McKinsey Company indicated it was the number one business issue with 41% of CEO’s agreeing. Why is that, and what can we do about it? Is what we speak an illusion for others, or are we truly communicating?

Here are some areas where communications can become a source of the eventual decay of a promising company:

  • VisionNot articulating your vision in plain, simple English. Are making sure that everyone knows their role in accomplishing the vision?
  • Communicating in Other’s Styles: Do you know what your communications style is and if so, are you purposefully communicating with others in their style or your own? One of the biggest reasons your people are not engaged as they could be, is that they feel that they just have a job and are giving you more than five of their eight hours that they spend at work. There are four overall styles: Driver, Analytic, Expressive and Amiable. What is yours? What are your team members? How do they differ? How can you recognize them?
  • People to People: Is your communications candid? Open? Respectful? Or are you “talking past each other” in an attempt to get your own point across?
  • Passive Aggressive behavior: Are you communicating honestly, respectfully, openly? Don’t hide your communications behind hollow platitudes or disingenuous attempts to make the other person feel good (Minnesota Nice) about their idea which you completely detest. It is easier to know your real thoughts than you think.
  • Written communications: Have your years spent using social media rubbed off onto your  prospective customers, manifesting itself as short, perfunctory, impersonal messages? Are there grammatical errors in your Executive Summary? There’s a time and place for brevity but there is also no place for excessively lengthy diatribes.
  • Turnaround time (for communications, meetings and responses): Remember, the world tends to favor people who do what they say when they say they’re going to do it. If you show up late to a meeting, it communicates a strong message. So does not getting back to people who left you a voicemail.
  • The little things: How many handwritten notes have you sent over the past year?

Some additional suggestions to consider:

  • Find common ground. Just because you don’t agree with their idea, it doesn’t get you off the hook for finding a better solution.
  • Listen more. You were given two ears and one mouth for a reason. Use them proportionally.
  • Speak truth. Be kind and gentle. You’ll win more support, from colleagues and generate better ideas when the world starts to see you as someone truly interested in the other side of things.
  • Reach out: Seek the opinions and perspectives from someone outside your company (peer advisory group) on the clarity, consistency and cohesiveness of your communications.
  • Acronyms: Careful with your use of acronyms. You may know what they mean but most others do not.

Communications is an art and a discipline like most things in life. 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

Brad has been mentoring executives to strategically position their businesses and their lives for more than 25 years. His proven A2A system creates internal and external excellence and advocates. Brad’s ‘Results First’ business positioning program empowers executives to grow and transfer their leadership assets to develop better businesses and richer lives.