Leaders talk straight —or their company fails.

There are many schools, workshops, and programs focused on developing leaders’ abilities to communicate effectively. The problem is they are not focused on how to elicit the best in others and are concentrated on rote comments or insincere platitudes. Some executives lack experience or basic emotional intelligence when conversing with others, while other business professionals are afraid to hear the truth, particularly when they fear what their bosses, employees or clients have to say.

In this geographically diverse business market, the challenge of pulling everyone onto the same page can be a daunting due to differing cultural perceptions. As a leader, it’s your responsibility to learn how to converse with others in a manner that gets everyone on board in a reasonable period of time. Relying on emails or texts can actually cause more harm than good, since communication is filtered through cultural experience. There is greater probability of your intentions being misinterpreted due to differing reading levels or misinterpretation of jargon, slang, etc. Remember, a conversation may take 20 minutes and elicit a truer picture.

If you, as the leader, are a poor communicator and don’t take responsibility for your interactions, your enterprise can quickly lose market share, top talent, and desired outcomes. Think through your messages and tailor them to your audiences. Write a draft and have it reviewed by another to ensure you are capturing the tone of the message you wish to send. In your closing comments, be sure to invite feedback and be open to hearing what others have to share—those insights could make all the difference in correctly tweaking the actions required to achieve intended results.

(c)Jeannette L. Seibly

What practices do you use to ensure your messages are conveyed in a way others hear them?

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