02 February, 2016

Six Old School Tricks for Communicating

Six Old School Tricks for Communicating

Photo Credit: Sebastien Wiertz

Poor communication is at the root of the majority of issues we face in life with other humans. Whether it be business, sport or life in general, poor communication on ones part means stress, more workload and an environment of distrust is built. When this occurs we get ourselves wound up into a tight ball of stress and our efficiency and focus on what should be our core business goes out the window.

Great communication is one of the tenets of being a great leader, and being able to make informed decision. It ensures that the organisation or team you lead is able to focus on the core business of team success. Great communication is built on trust and having a clear strategic vision. 

Think of someone who you think has poor communication skills and often they are not trusted or you wouldn’t be confident having them lead you into battle!

You may even have to deal with a poor communicator in your professional work or sporting club now. I empathize with you. But I want you to reflect on your own communication and see if you match up to the below simple actions that I think define a great communicator. Lead by example by being a great communicator.

1. Seek to Understand

A great communicator isn’t the first one talking. They are listening, understanding those they are working with and taking the time to get to know everyone at a personal level first. Like great leaders, great communicators build trust within their team and this only occurs through deep listening for true understanding.

2. Listen more than you speak 

You have two ears and one mouth and they should be used in proportion

If someone is dominating a discussion then they are not seeking to understand. This becomes a dictatorship and trust will be lost and volunteer and employee productivity will reduce.

3. Share information

Great communicators push out as much information as possible to those around them. They give out information before people have to ask for it. Those who withhold information make them angry and frustrated! By sharing information they are seeking others to help them understand and to create team success. Those who withhold information are often insecure about their own success and withhold information in order to try and achieve a temporary edge over those they should be working with, not against.

4. Know the plan 

Great communicators like a plan. They like to reduce the ambiguity around actions required and be proactive. Therefore they are always asking questions, clarifying aspects they either don’t understand or can’t make sense of. Being clear on the plan ensures that when an unexpected issue arises it can be more easily dealt with, as they will have a deep understanding of the project or situation.

5. Set expectations 

No matter if you are a senior CEO or a volunteer in sport, setting expectations will reduce workload and stress down the track. Either clarifying with your leaders that your understanding of the requirements are correct, or talking with this you lead that they understand what is required of them. By not setting expectations then this is setting people up to fail.

6. Go old School 

Great communication doesn’t start with emails. Relationships built on trust and mutual respect require face-to-face conversations. Go and discuss difficult decisions over a coffee, get out of your office or at the very least pick up the phone or make a video call. Communication is more than words; it is the emotions, the facial expressions and the tone of voice. This only comes through a bit of old school communication.

Success is led by the power of communication

So the next time you feel that a project or issue is getting out of hand, people are getting stressed or anxious, then have a look at the communication around it. I bet there is a breakdown in great communication and that going back to these basics will alleviate some stress and worry.

Go forth and become great communicators!

While you are building a great team, you might also like these two articles:

  1. The Perspiration of Leadership: Learn how to be a great leader.
  2. Seven Skills of a Great Team: Learn what is takes to build a championship team.

© 2019 Paul Mead