Written by: Lateef Khan
Business Development Executive | General Manager Digital Services & Solutions | P&L Leader
In this fast paced time, much emphasis is placed on digital, technology and continuing to reinvest, retool and reimagine your brand. However something that I regularly see people struggle with and not actively work on is ineffective communication.
While this may sound trivial, it has a profound effect on how others view you, your effectiveness and how you are measured against your peers and competition. You can be the brightest and the sharpest, but if you are unable to properly articulate yourself to your audience, you’ll find that this has the potential to hold back your personal success and your company’s.
Here are some tips and focus areas for you to consider and work on.
- Answer the question: I consistently find myself in meetings when folks respond to questions and have plenty to say, even intelligent things, but fail to actually answer the question. I especially see this in front of an executive. Remember don’t be a politician and always be in “impress mode”, rather just keep it simple and respond to what was asked and it will be greatly appreciated.
- Be succinct: Another thing I see quite frequently is the amount of verbosity people use when communicating. It’s especially prevalent in email. Remember most people these days have hundreds of email to get through, and most likely don’t have the time or patience to read through everything. Be brief and get to the point quickly highlighting what is truly required. One practice I have found useful is following drafting an email go back through it and remove the extraneous and redundant points.
- Be in the moment: These days there are too many distractions. When you are speaking to someone give them your full attention. Stay off your phone, stay off your laptop, turn your entire body to them and face them, and make eye contact. When you’re not fully in the conversation it’s a turnoff and makes the other person feel that you don’t value them.
- Eliminate the fillers: it’s a common practice and takes away from the quality of your message. We’ve all likely done it in some form. Using words “so”, “you know”, “ummm”, “and uh”, and the list goes on. While you may feel that this is better than silence, you’d be surprised. Taking a moment to think about what you want to say next versus incorporating fillers translates to a higher quality of communication.
- Practice speaking: in the age of smart phones, WhatsApp, and texting, people are believe it or not forgetting how to speak. This is especially apparent in our millennials and younger generation. I consistently see either through interviews or even a simple conversation, folks struggle in putting simple sentences together with proper structure and grammar. Get off your phones and speak to each other.
In summary, don’t underestimate the importance of how you are communicating, whether you’re presenting, in a meeting, responding to an email or simply having a 1×1 conversation. Take a step back and select one or two things to work on. Find a colleague who you can practice with and work on polishing how you speak and write. My experience has been that communicating effectively has a direct correlation to your performance and ultimately your success.
What are some communication examples you have encountered that make an impression and drive results? Look forward to hearing some of your experiences.