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10.30.12

In This World, You Can’t NOT Communicate!

Leading Forum
This is a guest post by David Grossman, author of You Can’t NOT Communicate. Grossman says that there are very few things in this world that are neutral. Everything you do, and everything you say, communicates something. And, importantly, everything you don’t do, and everything you don’t say, communicates, too.

In our world – and in the world of business – virtually nothing is neutral. Sharks swim to stay alive – even while resting or sleeping. A carefully wrapped present says something quite different than a present that’s not wrapped so nicely.

Similarly, everything you do or don’t do, and everything you say or don’t say, communicates something to those around you.

As a leader this is vital because all eyes are on you – all the time.

People read into your comments and actions. Who gets recognized in a meeting regularly? Did it look like your mind was wandering during that conversation? Is your door often closed? Do you smile? Everyone creates perceptions of you based on your actions and their experiences and biases.

The reality is – You can’t not communicate.

If that’s the case, you might as well get better at it.

Communicating in business

Effective leaders recognize their ability to achieve results from their direct reports – to generate engagement, to motivate, to get their team headed in the right direction – often succeeds or fails based on their ability to communicate.

Their business results, and their ability to move people to action, are achieved by communicating strategically and doing it well; they are Leader-Communicators.

In business, communication that has meaning is a difference maker. It can be used to build understanding, and make teams and individuals more efficient. It can be used to recognize good work and reinforce critical behaviors. It can be used to coach or mentor one person, or lead organizational change. It can share a vision, inspire confidence, strengthen a business and build a legacy.

Real communication is a differentiator that can make you a business superhero.

Become a “superhero”

It’s not that difficult to be a communication superhero. And when you consider the strengths it offers you as a leader, I’d say it’s relatively easy.

It might not feel that way all the time. In fact, sometimes it feels easier to just say nothing and keep going – but remember by not communicating you actually are communicating.

What does it take to communicate well? Just like any learned skill, practice – simple, consistent practice.

Here are a few tips to practice:
  • Root all your communications in your business goals
  • Understand the mind of your audience. Communicate in a way that will resonate with them
  • Choose the right time and right vehicle for your communication
  • Ask questions and solicit feedback to know if your audience truly understands you
  • Express reactions and opinions without intimidating others
  • Be present in conversations; don’t be distracted
  • Visualize a mirror in front of you and consider what your body language says (are you making eye contact, do you have good posture, what are your facial expressions)
Like any great speaker, listen to feedback – then apply it and keep practicing.

Learn the skill; understand the fundamentals, practice, practice, practice.

You too can be a communication superhero!

Now that you know you can’t not communicate, what are you actually communicating today?

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David Grossman, ABC, APR, Fellow PRSA, is one of America’s foremost authorities on communication and leadership, and a sought-after speaker and advisor to Fortune 500 leaders. A two-time author, David is CEO of The Grossman Group (www.yourthoughtpartner.com), an award-winning Chicago-based strategic leadership development and internal communication consultancy; clients include: Accor, AOL, GlaxoSmithKline, HTC, and McDonald’s.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 09:08 AM
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