Archives For communications skills

The title of this blog post also happens to coincide with the title of my new Kindle eBook. The book is a collection of twenty-two articles I have written over the past several years on the subject of communications. I came across many exceptional communicators during my time in the U.S. Marine Corps, and afterward in positions of responsibility with companies like Coca-Cola Enterprises, Genuine Parts, and GE. I learned much about communications skills by observing men and women of exceptional ability. I also observed that many people struggle as communicators. It is to this group that this book is intended.

There may be areas that take you outside your comfort zone, such as public speaking, presentations, or contentious areas that might involve some level of conflict. Don’t be discouraged. Most of us have at least some fear of standing in front of a group and speaking; or writing and then verbally presenting (and perhaps defending) a plan or paper; or delivering a less-than-stellar but nonetheless honest performance review to a potentially cantankerous employee. Just remember that repeated practice will make you better and more comfortable. Stand up in front of the group with confidence and enthusiasm. Deliver your well-written plan with your strong verbal skills, perhaps with a bit of humor spliced into just the right places. Be honest and sincere with that cantankerous employee, and always respectful. Think of it as becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. Progress will follow.

Since I am a writer and speaker, I come at the subject of communications from both a written and verbal perspective. I do not consider one as superior to the other; rather, to do both effectively and skillfully should always be the goal. Moreover, once you are able to do both effectively, you will find that being adept at writing can assist in the preparation of verbal presentations or messages.

So, this book is my offer of assistance to those who deem their communications skills in need of improvement. These suggestions and concepts have worked for me, and my reasoning is that if it worked for me, it could work for you.

Keep in mind that communications skills are transferrable. They go where you go. Whether you change jobs or careers, you keep those skills in your skills portfolio. Also, remember that those skills need polishing. Don’t let the rust grow. Keep practicing and improving. You will see the results, as will others.

How to Become a Successful Communicator is now available. Click on the link to visit the Amazon page.

The ability to communicate gives the prospective leader the opportunity to impart information, influence others, and direct others to action. Without this ability, a leader’s overall effectiveness is diminished.

Why, then, is this trait so critical to a leader’s success?

Good communication skills are more important than ever. Those who possess the ability to communicate skillfully and effectively are greatly needed in a world that is dynamic and changing, challenging and unpredictable, and often confusing and dangerous. Communication skills such as reading, writing, speaking, and listening are essential for a leader who wants to move his/her organization through the fierce, global competition that has become the norm.

Below are several reasons for the importance of communication ability in a leader:

• Inform. One of the primary functions of communication in business is to provide information. Whether the information concerns products, plans, or policies, a leader’s need to inform a diverse audience of employees, customers, and stockholders is crucial.

• Educate. Since education is an ongoing communication process, a leader who spends considerable time, energy, and capital in educating employees about plans, processes, and policies is a leader who is serious about success. The best leaders are very often also the best teachers.

• Clarify. Leaders are routinely required to communicate clarifying information that amends, rescinds, or elucidates previous information that had been provided to audiences either within or outside the company, or both.

• Persuade. A leader who has the ability to communicate persuasively has a significant advantage over others not nearly as skillful. Persuasion should lead to desirable action; action should lead to results. Note that the ability to persuade is far more than spin control or other superficial attempts at deflection or avoidance. Nothing difficult would ever be achieved without persuasive leadership.

• Motivate. An inspirational leader can motivate employees with his/her words and actions; that same leader can motivate customers and clients into taking action on proposals, products, or services. And while it’s true that motivation doesn’t last, neither does a shower, and that is why it’s a worthwhile daily practice.

Communication is a perishable skill, so the leader must maintain proficiency with diligent practice. Can an impressive ability to communicate be a differentiator for the prospective leader among his/her peers? Yes, absolutely! A leader can create great plans for an organization, but without the ability to inform, educate, clarify, persuade, and motivate, those plans will likely not reach maximum effectiveness.

For more on communications, both verbal and written, please see my Kindle eBook How to Become a Successful, Effective Communicator. Find it on Amazon by clicking on the link.