Being able to effectively communicate with others is an essential skill for anyone, regardless of their position or responsibility. All of us need to be able to convey our ideas clearly and convincingly with enthusiasm and confidence. With careful preparation, hard work, practice and a focus on clear language it is possible to develop and improve our communication skills and become more articulate. For a leader this is critical, to clearly and decisively explain vision and direction.
Sir Winston Churchill, a role model for communication?
Sir Winston Churchill, was a master communicator. We might not ever achieve the legendary status of Churchill but we should take encouragement from the fact that contrary to what many believe, Churchill was not a natural orator and was plagued by a speech impediment. Partly because of this but also driven by a desire to communicate effectively to get the results he seeked, Churchill dedicated himself to persistently rehearsing and editing each of his speeches for many hours. Hard work and practice were key components to his success together with thoughtful preparation and sincerity.
Churchill's 6 communication strategies
- Be clear about the audience you are addressing, who they are, what their needs, worries and concerns might be.
- Make sure that your communications have a well defined purpose, have a well defined objective.
- Be aware of all the facts before you speak. Do your research to make sure that you have available all relevant information
- Use simple, but precise language.
- Use humor to make you speeches easier to understand and to remember.
- Be sincere, speak from your heart. This was perhaps Churchill’s most significant tactic – his audience realized that he believed in what he was saying, they believed it too and very often acted on his words.
Additional Communication tips
1. Communicate in several methods
Communication is not all about public speaking and developing presentation skills to large audiences. Your team members want to hear new information from YOU. They want to hear your perspective on changes and new directives. Communicate key messages in more than one method. For your communication to be remembered repeat it. Be consistent without becoming predictable or boring. The first time you say something, it's heard, the second time, it's recognized, and the third time, it's learned.
2. Seek feedback and advice from others
Don’t be afraid to ask for help in creating and practicing important communication. Ask a co-worker, team member or peer manager to review the message or to listen to your practice sessions. Seek feedback from people after an important piece of communication - How could I have improved it? Which part did not seem to work well? What could I have done differently?
3. Involve your audience
Try to involve your audience, require them to think. A good communicator asks good questions that spark lively discussion, questions that promote a deeper understanding, if you want to get to the heart of something, ask “WHY?” five times. Don’t just stand up and tell people what to do, you want a team of forceful people who understand what you want but at the same time feel that they can make daily decisions themselves. Get people involved, ask for their input, their ideas. Show that you are listening and that you value their thoughts; give positive feedback and encouragement.
4. Have clear expectations and be sincere
What are your thoughts and what has worked well for you? We would love to hear from you!