Communication skill is an essential skill for the leader of any company. If the company is going to be successful in their endeavors, the least that the company leader has to have is communication skills. The best leaders are able to inspire, encourage, and motivate others to be productive at what they do and achieve a set goal. They are also able to train the people working with or under them, negotiate with business associates, and also share their ideas perfectly with others. The only way to achieve all of these is by an excellent communication skill.
Irrespective of the size of the company, big or small, the success is strongly dependent on the communication skill of the leader. The duties that they have to perform is what makes communication a very essential skill for company leaders. Whether it is convincing potential investors of the company, or delegating tasks to employees, communication is key.
Great leaders are able to bring others into play and make others believe in their vision with their communication skills. So, if you are aspiring to be a company leader or you are already one, here are some essential communication skills that you need to learn and practice.
Understanding body language
The body language is an essential part of nonverbal communication. Your body language has to be top-notch as a company’s top executive because it reveals your true feelings. In a book on body language written by Glenn Wilson, he noted that whenever there’s a conflict between the body language and the words that are spoken, the truthful one is usually the body language. As a leader, you must be able to understand other people’s body language because that’s where you get cues on their true intent. So you have to pay attention to this.
It is advantageous to you when you can read the sentiments and thoughts of a person that is not revealed in their words. For instance, if you are interviewing a candidate, you can learn certain things from them which you would not get in their words. By paying attention to their body language, you can learn if the candidate is confident, honest, etc. This skill also comes in handy when you are delivering a speech or presentation, conducting a meeting, or negotiating and trying to sell.
Another important part of understanding body language is that you are able to project the best body language to people around you. This will allow you to exude confidence, leadership, and honesty.
In the society that we live in, not many people pay attention to listening skills anymore. In the global society, with the introduction of smartphones and social media platforms, people now pay less attention to listening. What used to be were eye contact, verbal pauses, and inflections of voice, but all of these have now been replaced with texts, emoticons, emojis, and smileys, etc. Although mobile phones and social media platforms have made it easier to communicate and interact easily with people in faraway places, it has now hindered and reduced our listening skills and ability to listen to the conversation that is rich in information.
When you listen to people skillfully, you are able to get important details that can otherwise be lost in the conversation. Good listening skill is important in reaching quick solutions to problems but businesses miss out on this because the leaders are not good listeners.
If you are looking to improve your listening skills, one of the first things you have to try out is empathetic listening. Try as much as you can to replicate the emotion of the person you are listening to. If they are excited, try to be excited. If they are sad or worried, be worried too. Replicate their emotions in all possible ways, such as through facial expressions, and speech. It definitely would not be easy to do this. It would require some energy from you but it is something that you have to do consciously.
Verbal communication skill
This is the most used communication skill but it is also the most abused – and the reason is quite obvious. The fact that everybody can talk does not mean that everyone can communicate verbally. This is something that you have to learn as a leader. There is a huge difference between talking and communicating verbally. If you do not realize this, you are likely to just keep talking and not communicating.
The truth is, very few people listen these days. As it was mentioned earlier in the article, listening skill is not a very common skill anymore. As a leader, you have to first assume that your employees or trainees are poor listeners. So, the onus is on you to communicate with them verbally in a way that they understand very clearly and without any doubt. This means that your communication has to be clear and effective. This means that you must speak in simple and plain language. Do not use ambiguous words or words that are hard to understand. That is the surest way for your audience to lose your message and misunderstand you. You also very arrogant when you do that. In the end, there is no clarity in your message and your employees are getting the wrong message.
In order to be more effective in communicating verbally with your employees, you should prepare in advance for the conversation. You really do not have to always improvise your conversations when you can have it all pre-planned. Take your time to plan the words, phrases, and sentences that you will be using during the conversation. Also, consider the possible objections that you might face about your solution or opinion and try to prepare answers that are very convincing.
Improving verbal communication skills also has a lot to do with the amount of book you read or the time you spend reading. Reading does a lot to improve your verbal communication. It can be a novel, journal, blog post, whatever your interest is, regularly reading improves verbal communication, especially if the authors you read from are articulate. You can also take time out to also watch presentations, debates, and speeches. The more you listen to or read from people that communicate convincingly, the better you get at communicating.
There is a big possibility for company executives and entrepreneurs to hire writing agencies and freelance to write their presentations and speeches. This, however, does not mean that it is not a skill that they need to learn for themselves as well. As a matter of fact, they should be able to write beautifully on a daily basis. The truth is, you can hire people to help you out every time you are looking to write an email that is convincing. Even if you did, it definitely would be at a price. It can’t be cost-effective.
What you need to write well is conciseness and directness, not some big grammar. It will help you to also remove words that are not needed or are unnecessary in the sentence. You might be tempted to word your writings unnecessarily but this is a better way to write. For instance, compare these two sentences to themselves.
Sentence A: “what we all decided during the conclusion of the meeting is that we all need to take some time off some points. So staff leave is now very important and everyone has to choose a preferred time for themselves.”
Sentence B: “we unanimously decided that staff leave is important so everyone will decide when it is best for them.”
Sentence B is more straightforward and sound better in many ways than Sentence A. It is also very easy to read and understand.
The importance of videos has continued to rise in the last few years and the world is becoming more video-centric. This is a trend that you have to jump on if you want to be successful as a leader of any company in today’s world. It is not just appearing before a camera and shooting videos anyhow. You have to pay huge attention to your appearance even in video form and also the video quality that you are producing. This is very paramount.
Video skills also cut across other forms of communication skills such as verbal skills and understanding of body language.
Since you will be talking to people in the video and trying to pass across a message, your verbal communication skill is very important. It is not only important for communicating with people in person. The same thing applies to body language. You do not want your recipients thinking that you have a negative body language during a conversation with you or while watching your video. You still have to exhume that confidence in videos. So, it’s important that you are grounded in your video communication skills.
The quality of the video is also something else that you have to pay attention to. Although this might depend largely on the type of brand you are working at and the company size. If you are in charge of a big company, there is a chance that you have an in-house video agency that can get the job done, or you have access to other external agencies that you can employ for your video needs. But if you are in charge of a smaller company, you might have to work with freelancers for cheaper rates as you are unlikely to have an in-house agency of your own.
Whichever you are able to go about it, the words and gestures in a video are important but equally important is the quality of the video.
Kindness, Complimenting, and encouragement
One mistake that many company leaders make is that they pay more attention to verbal communication and totally ignore or overlook nonverbal communication. However, in many cases, nonverbal communication can be more important in passing a message across than verbal communication. As we mentioned earlier, where the words are spoken and body language contradicts, the body language is most times the truth. That is an example of how important nonverbal communication is. In this case, being well mannered, complimenting, encouraging, and being kind to your employees.
We often underplay the importance of being well mannered and kind as the boss in the productivity of your subordinate. “Thank you,” “please,” “I am sorry,” are not just meant for the subordinates or employees to dish out to you all the time. You can be the one setting the pace for how you want everyone to behave and relate with one another.
A very easy way to motivate your employees is to compliment their works and encourage them. This drives them to want to do better. They always want to earn that respect and recommendation from you. In the long run, this makes them more productive. Being kind also makes you very likable and is a reason for people to work for you, not just for you as a person, but as the boss for the progress of your institution.
You have to learn to bring everybody into play. This does not mean that you do not correct them when they make mistakes but not in a rude and unfriendly manner. Everyone should be respected. If you have to attend a meeting and you are angry, resist the urge to vent that anger there. You need to show some manners. It makes it easy to relate with you on a professional and personal level. It also makes you very approachable because your staff knows that they will not be disrespected or embarrassed about approaching you.
These are nonverbal ways of passing across valuable ideals to your staff. It also makes them more responsive to your verbal communication because you already have their respect.
Communication is a very vital skill that all leaders have to learn for the progress of their companies. Nobody is born a great leader. People have to take conscious steps to become who they are and these steps involve communicating with people better.