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Inbound Marketing Blog

    5 Things that Veteran Communicators Know

    Posted by Bill Faeth

    Are You Taking Advice from the Veterans?


    Effective communication skills are of absolute importance in the professional world, especially if you want to be a leader or manager of people.

    Good communication skills can help you in a variety of workplace situations, including motivating your team, explaining a problem or delivering a great presentation. Struggling with your communication skills doesn’t have to be a constant professional battle, however; a few tweaks to your routine and a little inspiration can go a long way toward making you a better communicator. Here are a few habits of veteran communicators.

    1. Walk the Walk

    Trust is among the most important tenets of the relationship between a leader and his or her team, and if what you’re communicating to your team verbally doesn’t coincide with your actions, you’re going to have serious problems establishing trust. Avoid talking on a subject if you can’t be certain that your actions, in the past and future, will reinforce what you’re saying. You don’t want to risk looking contradictory when your team is looking to you for leadership.

    2. Leave Your Ego at the Door

    No matter what level of management you’re at, one thing remains universally true: few people are able to truly communicate with someone who is an egomaniac. If you’re trying to establish yourself as a trustworthy and dependable leader, constantly talking about your own accomplishments and vying for the spotlight in group conversations will be a deterrent from your goal.

    An abrasive character will generally make your team suspicious of your motivations with each and every project: are you working hard for the benefit of the team or for personal glory? Make it a point to avoid monopolizing conversations with your own experience and expertise; small doses are acceptable, but when every conversation is a bullet-pointed list of your qualifications and accomplishments, people are going to start tuning you out.

    3. Make Every Word Count

    Another issue that many leaders face in their communication efforts is the tendency to talk too much. When you’re communicating with your team, remember that the majority of them are very busy and their attention spans are limited. Don’t waste their time and challenge their energy with tons of rambling and off-topic diversions. Get a clear, concise handle on what you need to say before a conversation begins, and pare down your language so that the most elemental things are communicated efficiently and quickly.

    4. See Communicating as a Two-Way Street

    Especially when you’re a leader, it’s easy to see your conversations with your team or colleagues as opportunities to enlighten them with your newest ideas while they listen in awe. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people will feel minimized and uncomfortable listening to long chunks of information and never being given the opportunity to respond.

    Pay attention to how long you’ve been speaking, as well as the amount of information you’ve provided your listener without allowing them an opportunity to interject, ask questions or otherwise respond. Keep eye contact and pay attention to their body language; doing so will provide you with clues as to whether or not your listener would like to say something or ask a question.

    5. Ask Open-Ended Questions

    Really communicating with your team or colleagues is more than just hunting for the answer to a question and leaving once you’ve obtained it. Gauging employee morale and overall attitude for a project will help you better plan for future projects and will also help you make adjustments so that your team is more comfortable in the current one.

    Gauging morale takes more than a few “yes” or “no” questions, however. Asking open-ended questions, like “How do you feel about this project?” rather than closed-ended ones like “Do you feel good about this project?” will provide your team member or colleague with more room to express themselves and provide an accurate answer to your question.

    Effective communication is hardly ever easy, especially when you’re dealing with a variety of personality types and attitudes. Understanding the importance of good communication skills, specifically those deemed tried and true by veteran communicators, can help you get on the road to better communication and healthier relationships with your team and your colleagues. 

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    Topics: Inbound Marketing