As a leader, you communicate with people every day. These people may be your subordinates, your colleagues, your seniors, or people outside the organisation.
Methods of communication vary widely, and include the written word, face-to-face meetings, the telephone, or presentations to a group.
Sometimes you only have a few seconds to get your message across. At other times you may have minutes, or even hours, in which to do it.
Whoever you are communicating with, and whatever form the communication takes, the impact on the other person, or people, can be significant. However, it is not always predictable.
The purpose of your communication is to convey meaning, and to have that meaning understood. How often have you heard someone say something like ‘I just don’t get it!’?
In getting your message, across there are four key points to bear in mind.
- It is not what you understand by what you say or write that matters, it is what the other person understands that counts. Only when the meaning is fully understood by them can the communication be seen as successful.
- You need to know that the meaning of your message has been fully understood and you will only know this if you ask for feedback.
- The medium, or media, you use to communicate can aid or hinder understanding, so choose with care.
- With face-to-face communications it is not only what you say that influences understanding. Body language, tone of voice and the setting can all have a major impact.