How can you help your people communicate better?
Communication is one of the most useful skills you can have in your repertoire.
It allows you to connect with your colleagues, with clients, build relationships with suppliers, and with the public.
Without honing this skill, your people could miss out on opportunities as they don’t have the full ability or capacity to connect, collaborate and communicate with others effectively.
So, what do you do?
Tools, tips, and tricks they can use
Give your people the tools they need to help them communicate.
When people communicate, between 70%-90% of our communication is not through spoken word but body language and tone of voice. It’s how we move; it’s how we present ourselves, it’s how we say things. Less than 10% is what we say.
This means that the tools and tips people need are around how to understand and also how to present body language and tone of voice.
- Listen: This skill is vitally important. When you have good listening skills you can pick up not only on what people say but the subtext and context in which the communication is said, giving you what you need to react positively.
- Keep control: When in meetings or discussions some topics might get heated. It will be a sign of your professionalism and skills that you keep a clear head, stay calm, keep a level tone of voice. Don’t raise your voice or shout. This could only escalate to defensiveness and attacks.
- Show positive body language: first impressions are usually the ones we rely on when communicating and meeting people. So, keep yourself open, try to not bring any physical barriers between you and others – like crossed arms, crossed legs, back turned etc.
- Respect your audience: Your communication should not be about you or what you want but about how it can help others, educate others, inspire others. It’s about listening to people’s feedback, how can you improve your communications, show that you care about people’s perspectives and what they have to say.
- Keep it simple and stay on message: No one wants to hear people talk endlessly, so stick to your key messages, be concise, be consistent and be specific.
- Be mindful of culture: remember that some non-verbal cues mean different things in different countries and cultures. Take note and understand your audience so you know what to do and what cues to leave out.
Also, it’s important to remember the 7 C’s of Communication. This is a ‘formal’ way of listing what I have already highlighted above.
- Completeness: Communicate the facts in full
- Conciseness: Get to the point
- Consideration: Think about how the other person feels
- Clarity: Keep it clear and simple
- Concreteness: Give clear statements, avoid fluff
- Courtesy: Be polite and respectful
- Correctness: Be exact, accurate and timely
Involve them in the process
A way to help people improve their communication abilities is to include them in the communication process.
Bring them in from the start. Let them see that it is not just about writing content and sending it out. Show them how to gather the facts, how to do the research, how to piece together the big picture. Show them how one communication can affect something seemingly unrelated. Everything in business is somehow intertwined. Don’t assume that what you are doing won’t impact other areas.
Engage your people in what you want your communication to achieve, what actions are needed to instigate change. Show your people the reasons why projects and campaigns are happening and what’s in it for them and the benefits to the business.
Not everyone is going to agree with your communication, that’s human nature. But if you can show the reasons why and what people gain, the improvements and benefits to the business, your people will come to understand.
Take part in training
Want your people to be more active in communicating.
Then sign them up to take part in high-quality training. Help them to upskill their capabilities so they can further support your communication strategy, to become part of your communication network in your business.
With their communication skills enhanced, they will become better line managers, better leaders, better contributors, better innovators, better employees.
It’s in your interest to help your employees improve these vital skills. It benefits them and your business, its productivity, its profit, and its brand and employer reputation.