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Regular readers will know that the need for communication is a drum that I bang frequently.
Good communication is essential regardless of the size or nature of your business – after all, none of us have time for the niggly problems that can arise as a result of misunderstanding or even radio silence. Of course, communication comes in many forms – but here I’m focusing on what some might say is the lost art of conversation.
Great conversationalists have a sincere interest in others, notice things about them, and use these things to start and fuel their conversations – and this is just as relevant in our work life as in our personal life.
Business leaders and managers will no doubt spend much of their day having conversations – with customers, suppliers, and of course, their team. Don’t underestimate the importance of even the smallest of these interactions – we all know how much a negative conversation or interaction can affect our mood – which can have a knock on effect on productivity.
Making sure our conversations are productive, and constructive, at all times (even when there is a difficult message to deliver) can make all the difference.
So how can you get the best out of your conversations?
- Be adaptable – one size rarely fits all, particularly when it comes to communication. Tailor your approach to your audience.
- Face things head on – don’t avoid the tough issues simply because they are harder to talk about. Leaving these unresolved will only make them worse.
- Ask questions – encourage involvement in the issue at hand.
- Be specific – make sure people understand why their contribution matters.
- Actively listen and respond – showing understanding for the facts and feelings being expressed.
- Explain your rationale in order to build trust and provide context.
- Pause for thought – don’t jump in too quickly. Take time to understand the context.
It’s also important to return the favour when others come to you wanting to engage in conversation. That means looking up from your screen, putting down your pen, and moving the papers to one side. If you are in the middle of something important, ask if you can see them when you’re done – just as long as you give them the courtesy of your full attention.
Keeping these principles in mind when having conversations should make you much better able to avoid difficulties, seize opportunities and make people feel appreciated, understood, involved and supported.
For support with employee engagement, performance management, and training, contact us on 01229 615 280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE consultation.