Are you frustrated by the ineffectiveness of many of your business meetings? Do you find that your team cannot seem to make a final decision on seemingly basic business questions? Do the same issues continue to resurface? Does there not appear to be real commitment to the decisions that do get made? Do you make decisions in meetings and find out later that people who did not speak up during the meeting are raising issues about the topic, thus calling the validity of the decision into question. As an executive business coach, I witness these situations to varying degrees on a daily basis in every organization I deal with. What I find frustrating is that business leaders allow these behaviors to continue. I have also found that the solutions can be as simple as using the right communication style.
Using the right communication style can have a positive affect on decision-making and will lead to a more effective decision-making process in your organization. Unfortunately, many leaders in business think they are communicating appropriately and are not. Even worse, others are watching and are not addressing their communication issue; which is another example of using the wrong communication style in an organization. There are four ways to classify communications in which you are tackling.
You can either be passive, passive-aggressive, aggressive, or assertive. As you have probably guessed, being assertive is the proper way to effectively communicate in business, especially to the employees working below you. Unfortunately, assertive communication is the least common approach used in business when the conversation gets difficult or uncomfortable.
If you see that business decisions are not being made, that there is no follow-through on decisions that are made, that there are problems holding people accountable, that people are kept on your team long after it has been determined they should be let go, you have issues that require a change in communication style!
I have also observed that the degree of assertiveness a person uses in dealing with people provokes fairly predictable reactions by others; which in turn, helps determine how effective the leader can be within the organization. While your communication is likely situational, most tend to have a recurring style in the way they communicate in difficult or stressful situations. It has occurred to me recently that those organizations that have the biggest challenges with decision-making and follow-through have the fewest leaders using the assertive communication style on a regular basis.
Communication is a skill that can make or break you in business, especially if you are in executive leadership. As a coach in this area, I focus my sessions heavily on improving communication skills for better negotiations, strategic partnering and referral opportunities. Here are three tips that will help you immediately improve your interpersonal and business communication skills.
Focus On Their Needs.Regardless of whether you are meeting new contacts or long-standing partners at the conference table (or coffee shop couch), you should focus on their needs and goals first, then think about how you can help them achieve those goals. The ultimate objective of any meeting should be to create a win-win situation or resolution.
Adapt to Different Communication Styles. Just like leadership styles, everyone has different styles of communication. Great communicators observe and note the stylistic differences of the people across the table and adapt to them. Some great salespeople even feed off these differences. Adjusting to their communication style makes them more comfortable and more willing to work with you.
Smile. It may seem obvious, but it is so common in the business world for people—especially executive leadership—to leave their humanity at the front door. People want to do business with people they like and trust. Keyword: like. Smiling, laughing and even a little joking can diffuse situations, make people feel at ease and create instant report. So be likeable.
These steps are just the tips of the iceberg of tactics for more effective business communications, but they are a great place to start. The next time you have a meeting remember these steps and reap the instant rewards.
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