Communicating as a Leader

How Cutting Back Communication Can Save You Time and Money – Part II

Steven Sonsino asked:

In Part 1 we looked at why starting a debate was a breakthrough way to save you time and make more money. Now let’s look at how to get a debate started.

So what’s the best way of getting your people involved in a debate? Well, it involves the most effective form of communication.

As you might guess, this is face-to-face contact. It has been shown over and over again that a ‘rich’ communication style – face-to-face, and usually one-to-one – is the best way to communicate complex messages.

Face-to-face is so much better than ‘lean’ styles such as memos or emails.

But obviously, I can hear you saying, the number of people you can talk with one-to-one is limited.

But ‘rich’ communication can include any situation where people can see you and hear you. It means they can take in your body language and sincerity. It means you get rapid feedback, and can establish a personal focus.

In other words, an opportunity for rich communication includes any situation where people can learn what’s going on as quickly as possible, both in terms of actual content and also at an emotional level.

So are you using blogs or video messaging or town hall meetings as much as you could be? Get out and about to let people see and share your messages. Let them see and share you, your questions and your concerns.

At the very least you should talk face-to-face with your line managers and ask them to do the same with their staff. And make sure they tell you what feedback they receive.

Decision-making is a crucial part of business leadership. But there’s little point in making a decision that’s wrong (because you didn’t talk to the right people), or making a decision that no one acts on (because there’s too much resistance to the change), or making a decision that’s misunderstood (because you didn’t communicate it to people in the right way).

There’s still a place for the blunt memo or routine email, but save these for routine, simple information. Where more complex issues are involved, try to communicate face-to-face with as many as possible. And don’t tell them what to think. Ask them what they think.

It can be uncomfortable, but you need time, commitment and often a thick skin to enter a debate. In the end, though, it saves you time and makes you money. Not only that, but it earns the commitment of other people, and can help you gain more success as a leader, more than you dreamed possible.

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