With thought, attention, and practice, anyone can become a great communicator. Through our research and client work with organizations that are leading in the communication arena, we’ve defined the outstanding communicator. Knowing what the best-of-the-best do can help each of us know where we stand, and what we might need to work on to be even better.
The outstanding communicator:
- Understands communication begins and ends with him or herself. Don’t expect others to do the heavy lifting for you. It’s up to you to take responsibility for ensuring that communication happens, and happens in the right way. No one can translate information and help your employees make sense of it as well as you can.
- Understands that communication is an instrument of strategy, and a strategy in and of itself. Effective communication helps you turn strategy into action, both for your goals and the goals of the organization.
- Meets others’ communication needs. With attention to your audience and individual needs, you learn to shape your message in ways that resonate and break through the clutter and move employees from “me” to “we.”
- Plans communication and is aware communication doesn’t just happen. You can “wing it” and take a chance on the results, or you can be planful and purposeful, and succeed. Effective leaders make their communication look seamless; that’s the result of planning and practice.
- Knows communication is all about dialogue, and creates great conversations. Go beyond information sharing (one-way) to real conversation. Think of a tennis match and how invigorating it is to watch a great exchange of shots.
- Uses stories to create an emotional connection. People follow leaders because of how leaders make them feel. Tap the feeling side of others with stories.
- Ensures actions follow words. People watch what you do more than they listen to what you say. The ideal communicator ensures actions and words are in sync, and uses actions purposefully, knowing others will follow.
How do you stack up to this ideal communicator, and what one thing can you do to be even better?