According to the American Management Association communication is in the foundation of leadership. Strong communication skills are essential to become an effective manager, but they are of particular importance to you, regardless of the position you occupy in the organization. What kinds of skills, abilities and knowledge would help you achieve better communication? Follow the 32 key steps in written and verbal communication and you can be sure that others understand the message you want to convey to them:
1. Be direct in your speech when the situation requires it. Speak your mind clearly. Do not contort your message with statements that distort or soften its impact.
2. When you ask for something or give guidance, be polite but firm. You can thank your employees that they work more without making up an excuse for that.
3. Think for a moment before you speak. What exactly do you want to say? What emotions do you want to express? Who do you want to reach? How exactly can you communicate using your own language?
4. Make sure that the time is right for what you want to say. Usually praising is welcome at any time, but avoid criticizing
your employee's work when they are one step out of your door or there’s a vacation coming for them. You’d better save your remark for a more appropriate time for
5. Make sure that you have all the information you need before you make a statement. You can either postpone the discussion or first ask questions that would help you gather the needed
6. Be clear and precise in what you want. If you are not sure that people who you are talking to understand you, ask them to repeat your message.
7. When you talk about something important, slightly raise your voice or start talking slowly. Let your body language put accents on the important messages you send. Lean forward, open wide your eyes and use appropriate hand gestures.
8. Always keep your management informed. Your inner circle wants to be prepared, to look good and everything to be under control. If you make difficulties for them and obstruct them, this will come back on you.
9. Don’t hide bad news. The rumor will reach your boss before you tell them, taking away your chance to present your point of view on the issue.
10. Speak truthfully. Present your ideas clearly and concisely. Your body language is supposed to strengthen your confidence. Establish and maintain eye contact in critical moments.
11. Get to know your audience. Who are they? What do they already know? What kind of details are they interested in? What have they experienced before receiving your message? What do they want to hear? Do they pay attention to you? Are they interested in you and what do they want you to tell them?
12. Work while you’re listening. Most people say averagely 120 words a minute. The average capacity for listening is about four times faster. That difference allows your brain to think about something else while you’re listening, but can cause you problems if you do not concentrate on the words of the speaker. Do not plan your response while the other part speaks.
13. Write down the ideas that come to your mind. Do not rely on them coming again later.
14. Think out loud when you write something important, "discuss " it with yourself.
15. Focus on solutions, not on problems. Show that you do not only have a solution , but that you want to get the opportunity to promote your solution for a concrete problem.
16. Ask your employees for their opinion. This will make them feel valued and will surely have a positive impact on their commitment to you and the company. Show that you really listen to their ideas as you make them happen. If you cannot do something about them now, explain to them why.
17. Do not think that everyone knows what you know. There is no way for your staff to know unless you give them the information in an attentive and clear way.
18. Organize periodic meetings. Staff meetings inform you how your organization develops, show you the important developments and concerns, they give you the opportunity to hear what people want to tell you, and thus you will get ideas on how to proceed in the future.
19. Use staff meetings to ask your management for some feedback. Make a round table and listen to each one of them.
20. Reject the opportunity for rumors to develop. Be sure, it is better to give more information than less. Place a board in the office. Write news on it. Allow your people to write their questions and topics they’re interested in and want to be discussed.
21. Never deny or lie when the truth has come to light. Often information reaches your staff before you have served it to them personally. When this happens, find the source and determine whether the information is a fact or fiction. When you find out the truth, tell your people.
22. Start conversations positively. If there is a potential for a conflict, start with something that both parties agree with. Build the conversation on a basis that allows you to keep the atmosphere positive.
23. Avoid the word "but". This word immediately puts people on the defensive side. Better use the word "and" to maintain a positive conversation.
24. Use a positive language. Accord what you say with the way you say it. Do not let your reputation be of a man who always finds flaws in the ideas of others.
25. Look for positive expressions in your speech and use them to replace those associated with coercion and obligation.
26. Ask for others’ opinions. In negotiating situations use questions to find out what the interests of your interlocutor are and what they might need. Try with questions like: "What do you want from me in this situation? ", " What are your interests in terms of what I suggest? "
27. Present to others what you need. As it is good for you to know the needs of others, they want to know yours. It is important to express not only what you are in need of, but why this is so. Often disagreement is caused by the method of resolving a situation, rather than by the pursuit of the objectives.
28. Prepare several scenarios. If your preferred solution is not acceptable, consider in advance to what extent it is possible for you to step back from it.
Think about why the other party might reject your proposal and be prepared to come up with another idea.
29. Don’t argue. You argue when you want to convince others that they are wrong, not to reach an agreement, regardless of the situation. Disputes humiliate the other person and often lead to a measure of strength.
30. Decide when written communication is preferable. Is making a decision required? Is it a complex decision? Do you need to consider it before making a decision? Under these circumstances, the document is often preferable.
31. Avoid legal tone. Use the communication style of writing. Write as if talking to friends.
32. Write concisely and purposefully. Focus on the basics, not on details. Make your opening paragraph short - grab the interest of the reader and maintain it with a clear and concise text.