What Great Communicators Do That Others Don’t

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Note: If you are in the Dallas Fort Worth Area and want to learn more about what great communicators do that others don’t (and enhance your skills in this area) check out the class I am teaching through SMU Continuing and Professional Education: Leader-Language: How To Communicate So Others Will Follow. The workshop offers a deep dive into each of the six attributes of great communicators listed below and more.

Great communicators do things differently and they are generally rewarded with a greater level of success. When you think of great communicators who comes to mind? If you are like most people John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan and Martin Luther King probably top your list.

Great communication though goes beyond being a great orator. Think about a teacher, mentor, coach or manager in your past or present that you consider to be a great leader. I am willing to be that part of what makes them a great leader is that they are a great communicator – even if they have never given a speech to anyone other than a classroom full of students or their team of five. Great communication skills are a prerequisite for being a great leader.

Here are six things great communicators (and great leaders) do that others don’t.

1. Great Communicators Know Themselves and They Know Their Audience

Great communicators know their own communication style and they seek to understand the style of those with whom they are communicating. They also know their values, have a clear vision, and well-crafted goals. They recognize their own strengths, weaknesses and fears take into consideration the strengths, weaknesses and fears of their audience (whether that is an audience of one or 1,000.

2. Great Communicators Connect

Excellent communication requires authenticity, congruency and empathy. Exceptional communicators build trust. They know how to make their non-verbal communication enhance their message – not distract from it.

3. Great Communicators Ask First & Listen Next

The most brilliant communicators ask great questions and then truly listen to the response. They learn to listen to more than just what is being said – they listen between the lines.

4. Great Communicators Keep an Open Mind

The definition of communication is “an exchange of information”. Information can only be exchanged if there is two-way dialogue. Exceptional communicator invite two-way dialogue and resist making assumptions, jumping to conclusions or making judgments. Great communicators strive to see the world from new and different perspectives and this can only be done by keeping an open mind.

5. Great Communicators Plan Their Message & Delivery

Great communicators know their purpose for communicating and their desired outcome. They identify their key and then appeal to both logic and emotion with stats and stories. They have a plan before they ever utter a word.

6. Great Communicators Choose Their Words Wisely

Those who communicate most effectively choose their words to create images in the mind of their listeners. They know which words to use and which ones to avoid to keep from putting others on the defensive and to engage, energize and mobilize their audience.

Are you ready to lead so others will follow? Would you like to engage, energize and mobilize your team? Then the place to start is with enhancing your communication skills because great communication skills are a perquisite for being a great leader.

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