A comprehensive guide to effective communication for managers.
We know the role of a leader is complicated. Leaders in hospitality and retail have to juggle rota management, supplier relationships, training and time cards along with a mountain of other responsibilities which can result in their role getting a bit messy.
A great leader is set apart by their ability to engage in healthy dialogue with supervisors, employees, business owners and customers alike. Without the presence of effective communication skills, unnecessary conflict can creep into a workplace culture turning both employees and customers away.
In this blog, we will highlight the most effective communication techniques that you can use to bring your leadership skills to the next level. We’ll be sure to supply you with sources and resources on each topic so you can take the best bits away with you.
Whether it’s in person or over the phone, (or more recently on Zoom), verbal communication is the most common, and that’s why it sits comfortably at the top of our list. We’ll show you some of the most effective ways to harness your public speaking skills in this article.
Storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of communication as it can make written and verbal communication memorable. It has the power to bring people together to strive toward a common goal. In business, stories can help make key issues crystal clear, whilst showcasing how things should be done in a company.
Communication, as we know it comes from speaking, right? It is so much more than just speaking: expressing ideas, expressing opinions, giving and relaying commands, and it’s all used to persuade your listeners that your mission or your opinion is the one worth buying into. This is where tonalities enter into the conversation.
Tonalities are essential for communicating a truly effective message. It is often debated that body language and tonalites account for up to 55% of communication, and according to master salesperson Errol Gerson, “we are all in sales: everyone is selling something.” As a business owner or a manager, one of your responsibilities is the ideas you sell to your employees; pushing them to greater productivity, greater results and selling services.
“Consider the emotional work of leadership”, says the New York Times’ bestselling author, Daniel Goleman PH.D. He states that while leaders might have “direct control over the day-to-day responsibilities” they also have an impact on their group’s “collective emotional condition.”
Goleman recalls a story of a line-manager called Brad. Brad was completely oblivious to his team’s disconnect with him. He had never lashed out or been argumentative with his team. However, his seemingly jumpy behaviour and his nervousness were mirrored by his team: they absored his nervous behaviours to them.
“His seemingly jumpy behaviour and his nervousness was mirrored by his team.”
Brad came off as anxious and avoided eye contact, and because he was in a leadership position his employees were unconsciously mirroring his actions. He didn’t realise his actions were having a substantial impact on his team’s morale. Brad worked with a coach to become more aware of his unconscious movements and actions and how he could manage his emotions better. Once he started to relax, “his team did too.”
Effective Written Communication:
1. The importance of written communication
2. Writing Techniques
3. Think (and reflect) before you write
4. Be Kind
1. The importance of written communication:
Unlike a traditional letter being posted through your door, an email does not carry the same physical weight. However, the emotional weight of an email can have a heavy impact on the recipient.
2. Writing Techniques
You probably have little time to check your written communication, but understanding how to write interesting and intelligent sentences is necessary to communicate effectively. Clear writing demonstrates clear thinking. You may have the best ideas in your business, but if you do not know how to communicate them properly, nobody will hear them.
Get right to the point by keeping it simple. Working professionals receive 80 to 126 emails a day and with the average email taking up to 20 minutes to reply to. It is fair to say that emails cost time and money to businesses.
3. Think (and relect) before you write:
The first step is to think before you write. Before you start tapping on your keyboard, think and reflect on what you want to say. Think about how you want your message to be received.
Write your subject lines like a news headline to grab your audience’s attention. The beauty of this technique is that it helps you summarise your entire email into one line; if it is interesting enough for your customer — they will read it.
Writing prematurely is where people make their first mistake because they are working out their thoughts as they are writing. This means the resulting email, proposal or article may look ‘unstructured, meandering and repetitive.’
Next, ask yourself: “Is the email I’m sending really necessary?” For instance, if you have negative news to deliver to an employee or supplier, it is always better to speak with the individual in person.
Make your point immediately known in the first line of your article, email, or proposal. By briefly putting the main point at the start of your written piece, you can snatch your reader’s attention quicker and at the same time, saving your reader valuable time by presenting your main idea first.
You should always aim to keep your messages clear and brief. Have them straight to the point. Avoid sub-topics in the email you are writing. Follow up with a dedicated email on that topic.
4. Be Kind
Every email you send represents the professionalism practised by you and your business. It is a reflection of your company’s culture and values. When speaking to someone for the first time delete any emojis, slang, and colloquial sayings.
Sending an email means you’re communicating without facial expressions, body language, visual aids, or tones so the risk of your message being misunderstood or misinterpreted is very high. Remember to write your email like the person is standing before you. If you think your message may be misunderstood, start again.
“Picture the person you are writing before you in a meeting.”
That means you’re going to hit delete on emojis, slang, and informal writing in general. Picture the person you are writing before you in a meeting. Don’t waste their time. Make a difference in their work or life and with urgency.
Practice with genuine politeness without unnecessary flattery. Remember, emails are often printed and shown to other colleagues.
Always take a minute to proofread your email for spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes. Typos have the ability to amplify someone’s anger according to Andrew Brodsky, an Assistant Management Professor at McCombs School of Business.
Your emails also link to you and your business’ brand. When you begin proofing your work, make sure to cut the fat. Lean editing will see you cut words and sentences that you (and, more importantly, your audience) do not need.
A strategy used by Kara Blackburn, a senior lecturer in MIT Sloan School of Management, is to cut, “three words, when one would do.” Blackburn suggests deleting prepositions, for example, point of view is trimmed to become viewpoint and a general consensus of opinion becomes consensus.
What makes a leader by Daniel Goleman http://athena.ecs.csus.edu/~buckley/CSc233/What-makes-a-Leader-HBR.pdf
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