Communication Skills

If you don’t send your message in the right way (Communication Skills at a Higher Level), people will not be able to understand you.

Many people grasp the concept of adjusting their communication skills to other people by either:

  • Getting to the point (be clear)
  • Acknowledging people (be approachable)
  • Taking time to really listen (be attentive)
  • Just the facts please (provide data)

What they don’t get is just how much it can improve performance levels and make a difference in results.

It Feels Phony

Some people think it’s phony or manipulative to communicate with team members based on their preferred style of communication. But try to look at it as providing others with the resources and tools they need to get the job done. It’s like giving them glasses so that they can see better; if that’s what they need for better results, then that’s what you want them to have.

Realize as well that style adjusting is a temporary adjustment; you are not changing who you are. You are merely shifting to another language for the time being in order to get your point across in a way that people will understand.

Think of it as though you’re traveling to another country, and utilizing a little of the native tongue; if you go to Germany and speak a little bit of German when ordering your meals, you’re going to get the waiter’s attention and, hopefully, much better service.

Style Adjusting is Not Mirroring

It’s important to understand that the skill of style adjusting is not about mirroring or mimicking what the other person is saying. To illustrate, we had a client who worked in sales and thought that if he could get his prospective client to talk about fishing—one of the client’s favorite hobbies—he could get him connected, and then make a sale. The salesperson believed that by mirroring the interest of the client, he would get the result that he wanted.

But did it get him closer to the sale? Of course not, because the salesperson didn’t really understand how the prospective client processed their conversation. As he came to learn in our leadership program, his client may not have even wanted to chitchat about fishing; he might have wanted just to get down to business.

Related:  Servant Leadership Whole Person Inventory

Mirroring is actually a form of manipulation, of trying to make someone discuss what you think will bring about a result that is in your favor.

It’s not effectively communicating; the message you’re conveying is not in the receiver’s best interest and this is a duplicity that they will pick up on.

Mirroring and manipulation are two communication methods that are not part of an effective communication system. Yes, leaders are, of course, concerned with getting results, but they are also aware that they must work for the good of all involved.

To them, style adjusting is a means of providing team members with what they need in order to get results, without coming across as phony and insincere.

E-mail Suggestion

With any communication style, if it seems like a tension or conflict is arising in the electronic format, that’s the time to pick up the phone and solve it verbally.

When you adjust to the various communication styles needed from you, you’ll be heard. This is not to say that you must change who you are; you are just temporarily adjusting to the style of the team member to whom you’re communicating.

Once the connection is made, you’ll be on your way to achieving even greater results.

How Do You Improve Your Communication Skills?

If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay is a business leadership strategist, executive coach, trainer, author, and founder of the About Leaders community and drMaryKay.com. She’s consulted with hundreds of companies and trained thousands of leaders. Her Ultimate Leader Online course helps managers become more confident, decisive leaders. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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