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What do you consider the most effective way of communicating?  Like most of my executive coaching clients, you are probably buried by email since it is often our primary method of conveying information.

Building Relationships

Many of my clients have been telling me recently that their colleagues want them to reach out for face-to-face communication more often.  Building relationships is much easier when we go to someone’s office or connect via video call.  Reading body language and facial expressions helps us understand what isn’t being said better than emoticons ever will.

Value of Small Talk

While texting, instant messaging and other forms of communicating via technology are useful, even a phone call can go a long way toward creating a personal connection.  I know it sounds old school, but Facebook can’t take the place of hearing someone’s voice.  The tone of the typical “I’m fine” answer to “How are you?” can tell a lot about whether we need to accept that at face value or ask, “How are you really?”

Impact on Leadership

One thing I often hear when conducting 360 feedback interviews is that people appreciate a leader who cares about them.  They want someone to ask them questions and then really listen to the answers.  They want the kind of relationship that doesn’t exist only in cyberspace.

I encourage you to ask your colleagues how you could be a more effective communicator.  If they want to see more of you, that’s a good thing!

 

If you’ve ever been on a ranch, you’ve probably seen a cattle panel (check out the picture above). Not something you want to run into, especially head first.  That’s what I did recently when there were several panels in the bed of my husband’s truck, at just my height.  I jumped out of my side of the truck and was headed around the back when, bam!  A sharp corner of the panel banged my forehead and jammed into my sunglasses.  I was lucky that I only ended up with a few scrapes and bruises.

Although you may assume that I’m generally clumsy (no comment), I would tell you that this happened because:

  • I was looking at the ground
  • I forgot the panel was there
  • I was in a hurry

After I had some time to reflect on my good fortune, I asked myself if there were any lessons to be learned that might apply to my work with leaders and teams, such as:

  • Are we missing a signal that we aren’t communicating effectively with someone because we aren’t looking for it?
  • Are we failing to change a non-productive behavior because we forget about the negative impact it has?
  • Have we overlooked an opportunity to create an effective team environment because we are in a hurry to get results?

I invite you to raise your head and look around at the things you may be missing that could derail your or your team.  If you need someone to help you figure out how to avoid the bumps and bruises, contact me cheryl@csbryan.com

Does this sound familiar?  The team is brainstorming with the boss and she says, “That’s a great idea but…”  She can’t resist adding her 2 cents.  I see it happen in team building sessions and it completely changes the direction of the discussion. The team learns that the boss doesn’t value their ideas so they won’t waste time coming up with any.  They also aren’t nearly as enthusiastic about implementing her ideas as they would be their own.

It’s Not About You

I have a client who is almost always the smartest person in the room.  It is really difficult for him to wait for his team members to figure things out on their own.  Once he realized that giving them the answer inhibited their learning and development, he took a different approach.  He practiced asking questions that helped them see different perspectives and possibilities and allowed them to learn from their mistakes.  Without jeopardizing the business, he gave them the freedom they needed to come up with their own ideas.

Try This Instead

The more senior you are in the organization, the more important it is to help others be successful.  How can you be sure you’re doing that?

• Stop before you speak – is your 2 cents really going to add more than detract?
• Encourage your team to come up with their own ideas – and to try a few
• Practice patience – know that they aren’t going to get it right every time

If you are struggling with holding on to your 2 cents, let’s talk about how coaching can help. Contact me cheryl@csbryan.com

 

 

A recent 360 feedback process for several technically accomplished individuals confirmed that these clients need to be like chameleons adapting to different environments.  Although they are most comfortable with a detailed, analytical communication style, they must improve their ability to provide a high level overview to senior executive audiences and a more general approach for non-technical colleagues.

Adapt to Your Audience

Adapting your style to your environment enhances the way your audience sees and hears you. These key steps will ensure that your message is well-received in both formal and informal settings:

• Learn as much as possible about your audience, whether it’s one person or a group
• Ask someone who knows them for advice on what is most effective
• Review your presentation with a trusted advisor who can give you valuable feedback
• Adjust the level of detail accordingly
• Follow up to confirm that your message was understood

Try something different in your next discussion or presentation, notice how it is received and make changes for next time.