When you speak to your team, do you ever feel like you’re speaking into a void and nobody listens to you? It’s a really frustrating feeling. But you know the phrase, ‘it’s not you, it’s me’?. Maybe it is you. Maybe what you’re saying and how you’re saying it just isn’t effective. Here’s how to master effective communication.
What Makes People Switch Off?
Even if what you have to say is really important, if you don’t deliver it in a way that people understand and are receptive to, you won’t get the desired response. Here’s why your team might not be listening to you.
You don’t listen to them
Effective communication is as much about listening as it is about speaking. Conversations are a two-way street, and if you don’t listen to people, you’re sending out the message that their thoughts, opinions, and concerns don’t matter.
Have you ever been in the presence of someone who was judgemental? Did you enjoy listening to them and their opinions? Probably not. Being judgemental makes people guarded and defensive which is not what you want if you want them to listen to you and value what you say.
You’re a negative nelly
Effective communication happens when people respond positively to what you say. However, if you are constantly complaining or bringing negative energy to conversations, this won’t happen. We can’t all be positive 100% of the time but try shifting your mindset and it will improve the chances of you being heard.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t have opinions on things, far from it. Different perspectives make life far richer. It’s when you try to force your opinions on others or make them feel bad for thinking differently to you that they’ll just stop listening.
You constantly interrupt people
Hands up who gets a bit passionate about things sometimes and interrupts people in meetings or during conversations? We all do. However, being interrupted can be annoying and even worse, it makes someone feel like what they have to say is not important. Make people feel like you don’t value them and they’ll wonder why they should listen to you.
You have trouble being assertive
Being assertive (not bossy-there is a difference) is one of the keys to effective communication. When people speak confidently, have confident body language, and believe in what they are saying, people listen. If you lack confidence in speaking and what you are saying, it shows, and people will switch off.
Effective Communication: How to Talk So People Listen
If you want to talk so people will listen, there are some important things you need to get right. You need to:
Speak clearly and be truthful. Be known for being genuine and not being afraid to have difficult conversations. If people know that you’re trustworthy, they’ll listen to and value what you have to say.
Be yourself, no matter who you’re speaking to. Many managers are afraid of how people will perceive them so they put on a persona or gloss over the truth. But people are cleverer than you think and sooner or later, your mask will slip. Be yourself and let your humanness shine through. Then your people will listen.
Do what you say you’ll do
Effective communication is about a lot more than just words. It’s about showing up for every conversation and doing what you say you’re going to do, every single time.
Even when you’re delivering bad news, people are likely to receive the message better if you speak with kindness and empathy. Many people forget this but it’s an important step in effective communication.
What you say is important, but even more important than that is the meaning behind what you say. Is your message being delivered with intention? Are you adding something valuable to a conversation? This is not about being charismatic or delivering what you’re saying like a stand-up comedian, it’s about saying things that are worth saying.
Remember that people don’t just notice your words
The actual words you say are just a small part of how you communicate. Remember that people notice your tone of voice, body language, demeanour, and energy too. To get people to listen make sure that how you deliver your message matches what you’re saying.
Extra Tips for Effective Communication
If you follow the tips above you’ll become a far more effective communicator. However, if you want people to really listen when you speak, having a few more tools in your arsenal won’t hurt.
- Practise active listening-remember non-verbal cues, reflecting back what someone has said, and asking questions to show you understand.
- Remember that it’s not all about you-ask about others and encourage them to talk about themselves.
- Use someone’s name: Research shows that using someone’s name makes them more receptive to what you have to say and it makes them feel valued.
- Ask for people’s input-this also makes them feel valued and recognised.
Effective communication is about being honest, intentional, and aware of both yourself and others. This takes effort and it takes practice. Just because you’re the boss, it doesn’t mean that people will listen to you. However, if you start following these tips, you can start reaping the benefits of more effective communication right away.
“Success with Employees membership will take you through how to communicate better along with many other areas needed as a leader.
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