Speak From the Heart- How to Communicate Effectively in Our New Normal
If there is one lesson to be learned from the aftermath of a global health crisis, it is that effective communication has never been more important; it is ultimately what matters. There hasn’t been a single country on the planet that hasn’t felt the effects of poor communication while attempting to navigate the ” normal.”
From medical companies To Government Agencies
Many failed to embrace the new normal
All experienced hiccups and a loss of credibility as they flip-flopped their communication stories. What they really failed to do was to embrace the “new normal” in a timely and authentic manner, to “assess the feelings of their audience” to “kill the medical jargon” and to provide “valuable content” to their constituents. People want to know the truth, even if it means you don’t have all the answers and they may not like what they hear.
We’ve lived in our “new world” for two years, and as firms deal with the massive wave of resignations, leaders must improve their communication skills or risk failing. Why? Because everything comes down to communication. Knowing how to communicate effectively is a crucial leadership skill that should not be underestimated, whether it’s to connect with a customer or to comfort and motivate your colleagues so they don’t look for more attractive engagements elsewhere.
If companies want to
Keep critical employees
They need to plan ahead and invest in their leadership programs. This involves a company-wide communication strategy that starts with their executives getting to know their people and their needs so they can keep them engaged. Active listening, changing your behavioral style to other people’s styles, and communicating in a way that makes people want to listen to you are all strategies to improve your communication with others. Companies performed a decent job of incorporating these strategies into their leadership development programs for the most part. All of these abilities are vital, but they are merely the building blocks of effective communication.
I’d like to emphasize the importance of mastering the art of communicating from the heart, being genuine and authentic, and showing your employees and customers that your message matters to you and should matter to them too. Not surprisingly, this approach allows you to communicate more easily, your message to the world is clear, and people connect with you because they see the value that you bring to them. When you speak before a large group of people or when you introduce yourself to a new person, speak from the heart, tap into your passion and connect with them in a way that will move their hearts. As Nelson Mandela said,
A few years ago, I attended a major conference, and one of the speakers moved the whole audience. The subject in and of itself was boring, and the speaker was not the animated, loud motivational speaker that most of us have in mind when thinking of an influential communicator. Yet, he was passionate and sincere that he mesmerized his audience, helping each of us draw closer to his content and ideas. As a result, many people were moved and wanted to learn more about him and how he could help them. The lesson that I learned from this experience is that communication is about connection, and without that, your words are merely noise. You have to relate with your audience. You need to do your homework, get to know your people. Connecting your words to the needs of your people is exactly what is required today.
Before your next big meeting, or big presentation take some time to work on what you are really trying to communicate. Below are a few tips that can help you become clearer and more passionate when communicating.
Focus on the end goal
What is the real message. Before you can effectively present yourself to others, you must first be fully aware of what you want to communicate, the outcome you seek, and your emotional state. This kind of pause, a self-reflection gives you the opportunity to listen to your inner voice. The voice that knows what you really need to communicate in order to be heard. Concentrate on activities that will help you become clear, self-aware, and help you move forward. If you want to be a great leader that speaks from their heart, then you need to realize that self-reflection is essential; otherwise, your message will not come out.
Drop the Mask. You may believe that you cannot truly speak what you have in your heart because you will lose credibility in the workplace. Statements like “I couldn’t possibly say that” come from your logical mind. In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown describes vulnerability as "uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure." Speaking from the heart, being vulnerable is not about getting carried away by your emotions or showing signs of weakness. It’s about being authentic, sharing your internal struggles, fears and ah ha moments. When you do this, your audience will appreciate your genuineness, become more engaged, and have an emotional connection with you.
Communicate concisely with stories
People are emotional beings, not rational beings. That is why, if you truly want to motivate someone through your words, you must appeal to their emotional side. If you have a compelling testimony, it will move your audience to the point of connecting with you. This, in turn, will help them understand your presentation better. Admit that you are human, that you’ve made mistakes… all these things will bring you closer to your audience.
Don't use words that negate the authority. You are the one who sets people up for success when you empower them. You provide the resources, remove any obstacles, and hold them accountable for the expected outcomes. When things don't go as planned, don't = reclaim your authority = by saying things like "let me think about it" or "let me handle it." When you do this, the empowerment is only temporary, and you retain authority. Instead, put on your coaching hat and ask questions like, "How will you approach this problem "Who can assist you?" "What can I do to help lighten your load?" The accountability and authority remain with the individuals you delegated, but they now recognize that you truly empowered them for the task.
Co-create value genuinely
Companies cannot have all of the answers. The pandemic taught us all that being prepared for everything is impossible, and that transparency is crucial. When soliciting feedback from your employees and clients, you should strive for the same level of transparency. That is what value co-creation is all about. Allow employees and customers to take part in your communication initiatives. Accept constructive criticism while also sincerely accept their suggestions for future development. When you do this, you begin to practice active listening.
What the world requires now, more than ever, is
who communicate clearly and authentically without using phony personas. People value sincerity and authenticity in a world where so much is fabricated. We want our leaders to take the stage and speak from the heart. This form of communication is far more effective than any video, email, or tweet. It motivates people to want to hear from you, connect with you, and work with you.
About the author:
Carole Nicolaides, MBA is the CEO of Progressive Leadership Inc. and has over 20 years business experience in the areas of organizational change management, organizational effectiveness, program management and leadership development. She held senior roles in the information technology, financial services, communications, government agencies and healthcare industries. Carole’s pragmatic, fluff-free and grounded perspective on leadership prepares management and their teams actively to lead the change. Contact us today to learn more about how you can create a culture that supports your changing initiatives.
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