Some people connect with almost anyone. They can navigate any social situation without awkwardness, without offence, while conveying their message without missing a beat.
Society may refer to these individuals as being “charismatic.”. But what does charisma entail when stripped down to the bone?
For some people, the art of conversation is second nature. They can easily distinguish the subtleties in dialogue and leave the best impression. However, for most, the process requires experience, trial-and-error, and copious amounts of practice.
Regardless if it’s innate or learned, every person has what it takes to become an effective communicator.
Organisational leaders who practice effective communication in the workplace can save their companies a great deal of time and money by conveying the right message without guesswork. They consistently rally employees in the right direction to bring out the best of their abilities while keeping them focused and motivated during unprecedented crises.
At its core, effective workplace communication comprises three facets: intent, clarity, and action. With the three qualities honed and aligned, leaders can impart the most complex information with ease and avoid the devastating impact of miscommunication that may result in conflicts at work.
Intention is the determined meaning behind each spoken word. How you say something means as much, if not more than the words uttered. Reports and research show that most conversations at work involve nonverbal communication, roughly 70-over 90% of the time.
As such, the best leaders should be careful and transparent with their intentions – leaving nothing to ambiguity or ambivalence. Employees should trust that you’ll deliver as you promised or stick to the plan.
An inconsistent or disingenuous leader sows seeds of doubt within the workforce, leading to schisms and distrusts that prove counterproductive in the long term. And chances are, it is difficult, if not impossible, to recover the respect of employees once you have breached their trust.
Thought activities can help you refine your intentions. It’s similar to the mental exercises that athletes tap on when setting goals before a big competition.
When training your intentions for communication, consider the impression you wish to leave on your audience. We must prime (mentally influence) ourselves first before we can extend priming to others. For example, if you intend to provide employees with comfort during times of volatility, you must first develop that calmness within.
Without intention, there’s no clear perspective, a lack of direction, and employees will quickly detect the slightest signs of uncertainty.
And with any successful organisation, certainty (or any semblance of it) is vital for the workforce in tiding through the harshest and most unpredictable situations (i.e., the pandemic or economic downturns). As a leader, you’ll need to enforce stability through your thoughts, words, and actions across the shakiest scenarios.
Clarity shouldn’t be confused with intention. While intention serves as the eventual goal, clarity functions as the path that guides the speaker towards their intended objective.
For example, if leaders plan to inspire their team towards adopting new technology, what language should they apply to recommend a practical strategy?
In most cases of effective workplace communication, less is more. Leaders should stick to concise language that covers the main points in their message. If employees require further details, provide them with readable discourse – perhaps via emails or file attachments.
The clarity in speech involves language easily understood by the intended audience. Only use jargon and terminologies widely applied across an industry, and remove unnecessary details to make every word count.
For example, API (application programming interface) is a term commonly used among tech developers but should be avoided or explained when speaking to HR. And rather than giving a tirade on your recruitment strategy (i.e., sourcing for talent, interviews, onboarding), skip to the most crucial and engaging processes that deliver results.
Additionally, you should always check to see if your audience understands the main points you’ve conveyed. Leaders can achieve this by running over the summary of their most significant points and asking employees to repeat them to ensure they’re on the same page.
However, leaders should be careful not to seek playback in a condescending or demanding manner. Mutual respect is a vital component of quality communication.
Essentially, leaders should strive to help employees reach and maintain role clarity – an understanding of their roles and the expectations that come with them. Role clarity in organisations has resulted in a 25% increase in worker performance as a driver of employee engagement.
Effective workplace communication should have the same effect as successful marketing. There should be a prominent call to action that makes it worth the attention of your audience/employees. While clarity and intention get your point across, there’s a need to involve employees in the communication.
There’s a need to fill in the void of the “what’s next?”
In that regard, leaders should apply the power of motivation. Employees are more likely to stay engaged when they are rewarded and acknowledged for their contributions. It is essential to keep employees feeling that they are a vital part of the company.
That’s why mentor-leaders remain highly esteemed across industries. Mentors focus on guiding employees toward solutions rather than spoon-feeding them with answers.
Mentorship is the hallmark of aspiring action in others. When done right, the process establishes a cycle of fulfillment, career longevity, and continuous learning where protégés/mentees will eventually become mentors of their own.
SoundWave workshops help organisational teams increase awareness of their various voices. By understanding and applying the right voice for the right situation, business leaders can foster stronger relationships with employees, partners, and customers.
While a charismatic leader might seem gifted, the talent of communication is learnable. Leaders can make profound differences in employee engagement with the smallest changes in everyday communication.
Ultimately, optimised communication contributes to a positive workplace culture, which remains high in demand after the remote challenges of the pandemic. It’s the key to rebuilding and sustaining professional relationships at work.
StrengthsAsia has helped many individuals and corporate clients empower leaders throughout the region by enabling breakthrough experiences for both leaders and followers. If you wish to learn more about the Strengths Leadership Program, please reach out to us here.