Defining Your Communication Style
“Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.” Richard Branson
Communication and leadership are strongly linked to each other. Leadership requires effective communication with your people and speaking with confidence in public is a key part of that. For leaders it is a vital tool to connect, motivate and inspire people. If you look back at your university days, there was always a professor who would put the students to sleep simply because of his poor communication skills. The professor may be intelligent but he just couldn’t communicate. The same reasoning applies to leadership. Leadership is directly associated with speaking fluently and getting your ideas to the listeners.
A good leader is someone who balances on the seesaw of organizational conflicts and sways it with ease. Leadership is about getting your people to respond effectively and communication will help you achieve it. And, the ability to articulate ideas confidently in speech is what sets a good leader apart.
Also, not every leader is confident enough to speak in front of a large audience. As per Huff Post, 19% of the world’s population fears public speaking- every 3 out of 4 people face speech anxiety. But one needs to remember that communication is a skill. A skill is not something you are born with, it is something you learn. It is similar to riding a bicycle, learning to drive or swim. If you as a leader are willing to improve your communication skills, you can rapidly move up the ladder by working on it.
Finding Your Communication Style
Every leader has his own communication style depending on his leadership style. Analytical, intuitive, functional and personal are four types of communication style.
As a leader, if you believe in knowing the nitty-gritty of the work done then you possess analytical communication style. For instance, if your employee informs that, “Sales are positive”, you would require the exact data rather than just 'positive'. The bright side of this style is that you look at issues logically. But sometimes you may come across as a leader with very little patience for emotional words in communication.
Then there are leaders who always look at the big picture, for example, instead of explaining A, B, C the leader will directly jump to the most important part. This style is known as an intuitive style and the communication is quick and precise. The leader does not require too many details and is comfortable with big ideas and out of box thinking. The drawback is that the leader may not always have enough patience in a situation where every small details matter.
If you like process, detail, timelines, and well-though-out-plans than you are a functional communicator. The positive side of this style is that you pay attention to all the details and nothing gets missed. At the same time, you may risk losing the attention of your audience, especially when you speaking to people with little patience.
As a leader, if you give importance to emotional language and are a good listener, you possess personal communication style. A leader with this style is a diplomat and can smooth over conflicts with ease. This style allows leaders to connect well with their people and build deep personal relationships. But the downside is that people may find you uncomfortable, for example, people are precise while communication may not appreciate personal communication.
Additionally, there isn’t one style better than the other. Firstly, understand your own communication style and then match it to your audience. While speaking to your employees, in a meeting or to a crowd, figure which communication style will help you sell better, inspire people and boost your career.
Practical Ways To Better Your Articulation Skills
As per research, people remember less than 10 percent of the actual words one uses. Instead, individuals absorb more meaning from the way a person uses their tone and body language. Add these elements while speaking to your people and articulate your ideas, effectively.
Always Be Present
As a leader, you usually have days with numerous meetings to conference calls leaving you with little time to clear your head and get ready for the next agenda. While communicating with your team members or leading a company meeting, always be present.
Listening Is An Art
With time and age, effective listening is a rare gift. When your people speak to you always indulge in active listening. Because leadership goes beyond standing up and speaking, it is more about listening to people and absorbing what is spoken.
Emotional Intelligence is about being self-aware, empathetic, disciplined and staying calm despite the ups and downs. It is a quality that can be developed over time with constant efforts and understanding.
Often leaders are surrounded by tremendous pressure, always remember that the people who count on you need you on your feet. So, don’t carry your emotions, walk with confidence. Because, effective communication is just 7% the words we utter while the rest is about body language; the way we listen, speak and react.
Elements That Make Your Communication Effective
When your people commit to a particular task, trust them. If you ever feel unsure, be open and honest about the same. Similarly, respect is another element which will help you build bonds with your employees. No matter what the situation, as a leader, always communicate your opinion to the person with respect. One of the best ways to show respect is to give undivided attention while talking to someone.
Empathy is another element you should add to your communication style. Make efforts to relate to your people on an emotional level. Sometimes you need to place yourself in their situation and understand why they performed in a particular way.
Additionally, an effective leader should have the ability to end a communication with a concrete discussion. Here, integrity is vital; if you know what you believe in, you will be able to clearly communicate these thoughts and your actions will convey that. People follow leaders who possess integrity.
Make effective communication a part of your journey of becoming a respected and revered leader.