Your outcomes are often a direct result of your communication. Whether you’re discussing an urgent matter at work or resolving the latest “Who ate my [insert snack]?” debacle at home, the effectiveness and result of each conversation depend on how we communicate. As a leader, you need to be intentional about how you communicate when times are good and when times are bad.
RULE OF THUMB: Listen to absorb, not to respond.
Oftentimes, we’ll hear people’s concerns while at the same time building our list of responses to their issues. This is listening to respond.
Instead, when the other person is speaking, the most effective way to listen is to absorb everything – their words and feelings…then take a pause before you respond. If that doesn’t work for you, listen to mirror, then repeat back to them what you hear, seeking clarity. This sends a signal to the other person that you actually heard them.
Here are THREE things you can do to improve your communication style:
- DO NOT listen to formulate a response. Listen to mirror instead.
- Look people in the eye if you’re face-to-face and give appropriate non-verbal cues.
- DO NOT scroll through social media if you’re on the phone.
Remember, whether it’s a client or family member, they’re coming to you because they want to be seen and heard by you. Make sure you’re present, focused, and truly listening to help them
In addition to the tips mentioned above, here are a few more ways to improve your communication style:
- Be clear and concise: When communicating, ensure you’re getting your message across clearly and concisely. Avoid using jargon or complicated language that may confuse the other person.
- Use active listening: Active listening is a communication technique that involves fully concentrating on what the other person is saying, understanding their message, and responding appropriately. This involves asking questions, paraphrasing and clarifying.
- Be mindful of your tone: The tone of your voice can convey different meanings and emotions. Be aware of your tone when communicating, especially during difficult conversations. Avoid using a tone that may come across as dismissive, angry, or sarcastic.
- Show empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. When communicating, try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and understand their perspective. This will help you respond in a more compassionate and empathetic way.
Remember, effective communication is a two-way street. It’s important to not only express yourself clearly but also to listen actively and respond appropriately to the other person. By improving your communication skills, you can build stronger relationships, avoid misunderstandings, and achieve better outcomes.
Harold Robert Meyer
The ADD Resource Center