Words are easy to spew. How we speak them takes practice to achieve optimal outcomes from a conversation. How you communicate is often more critical for delivering a message and can significantly impact the outcome of dialogue. If you have ever walked out of a discussion and wondered, "Why didn't I achieve the result I wanted?", maybe you planned what you wanted to say, but forgot to think about what it would take to achieve alignment from the other person in the conversation.
Here are a few helpful hints when you need to be successful with your communication.
1. "Speed kills," especially if you want more time from someone. If you slow down, the person you are communicating with will most likely slow down too. Regardless if you know someone has limited time, assume you can get more. If you enter into a conversation stating, "I know you don't have very much time, but…" then expect to get less time. If you have the mindset that what you have to say or share is going to be relevant to the person you are communicating with, don't start off by qualifying their lack of time. Selling something, meeting with a VIP or having a difficult discussion, slow down and assume you have the time needed regardless of presumed time limitations. The other person is engaged in dialogue with you, so use every minute to provide value.
2. Your mood matters, so even if you are having a bad day, brighten up a bit. Ever get in a discussion at work or on the street with someone who is irritated by something? More times than not, you walk away from communicating with them feeling a little irritated. Our communication tone is contagious. If you want someone to be optimistic, then you shouldn’t go into a conversation with them with a flat affect and monotone voice. The receiver of your mood will most likely mirror you.
3. If you don’t ask, you’ll never know. Being too direct can turn others off and create an uncomfortable feeling. On the other hand, not being explicit about what you expect or need will result in a less than optimal outcome. When you communicate with someone and have a request, be as clear as possible, so there is no confusion leaving the conversation about what’s been agreed. Whether it is next time you'll get together with a client or a favor from a colleague, ask for it. The worst someone can say is "no."
Next time you go into a meaningful discussion, go beyond just thinking about what you want to say and prepare how will be the best way to deliver the messages to get what you want. Wouldn’t it be great to leave your next critical conversation with the best outcome possible?
JAR Leadership Coaching is a results-oriented organization working with executives and teams to improve effectiveness in the workplace. We specialize in executive coaching, individual and team assessment and customized leadership development for the sake of positively impacting results. For more information, reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.jarleadershipcoaching.com