Ever walk away from a meeting or conversation in which all the right things were said—people were nodding, smiling, maybe even taking notes—but then nothing gets done? Everyone heard the words, but somehow, those words didn’t translate into action.
In effective communication as a leader, interaction fuels action.
Leaders who effectively communicate create advocates who not only act, but also champion the vision with the rest of the team. In the words of John C. Maxwell, interaction fuels action. Here are four tips to help you ensure you’re communicating in a way that goes beyond saying the right words and inspires action among your team members.
HAVE A VISION OF A BETTER FUTURE
If you’re not communicating how things will be better as a result of your strategy, plan, process, etc. then people won’t feel motivated to support it. People need to know that they’re signing on to something worthwhile, difference-making, and clearly defined. So, before you start the conversation or call the meeting, make sure you have and are prepared to communicate a vision that is connected to a hope, goal, or need that will inspire execution.
KEEP IT SIMPLE
We should always be able to communicate our message in a way that our audience can receive and understand it quickly. The longer and more complex your message is, the less inspired your audience will be. You want your audience envisioning how they can contribute to your vision—not struggling to pay attention or interpret complicated language.
Using simple language also demonstrates that you respect your audience’s time and care about their input and ability to execute.
GET VISUAL WITH YOUR STORYTELLING
People need to be able to see the vision before they can seize it. Paint a picture using visual storytelling. From process diagrams to videos and mood boards, giving people a visual will make your message more engaging and memorable. It also helps cut down on the words and simplifies your message.
Storytelling also goes a long way to communicating with empathy and demonstrates that you’ve done the work to understand your audience and connect with them.
HAVE A CLEAR CALL TO ACTION
This might be obvious, but we’ve all been in the meeting that ended without clear action items and next steps. The emails start flying around, and we’re immediately frustrated by the lack of clarity. Make sure you know what people need to do next—whether that’s thinking about the conversation and sharing feedback (by a specific date) or clearly defined steps per person or team.
Don’t let people walk away without knowing what they need to do—and make sure there’s time and a safe space for them to clarify if needed.
Effective communication can change people. It can change how they feel, but more importantly, what they do. By ensuring your communication as a leader is compelling, clear, and resonating with our audience, you’ll not only inspire action, but you’ll also inspire powerful, positive change.
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