Leaders always seem to be trying to get their message “right”.
They ponder what will it take to win the hearts and minds.
They may hire consultants to tell them what they should say.
They engage fancy speechwriters to say “it” just so.
Then, they monitor the polls to get feedback and see how their message was received.
However a new article in Harvard Business Review (April 2012) throws a curve ball at this whole notion–stating: “It seems almost absurd that how we communicate could be so much more important to success than what we communicate.”
From my perspective, there are many factors that contribute to the success of our communications:
Firstly, let’s face it–personality, likability, charisma, and charm go a long way to influencing others–and yes, it seems like this is the case, almost at times, regardless of the message itself.
Then there is everything else from emotional intelligence and political savvy for “working” the audience to doing your homework in terms of getting your facts right, making your presentation engaging, using back channels to build support, and giving people the opportunity to ask questions, contribute, and buy in.
According to the HBR article, successful communication directly impacts team performance, this occurs through:
– Energy–“the number and nature of exchanges among team members”–with more interactionbeing better.
– Engagement–the distribution of communications among team members–with more equal distributionbeing better (i.e. communication isn’t being dominated by one person or a select few).
– Exploration–this is the communication between a team and other external connections–with more outreachbeing better for creativity and innovation.
For all of us, communicating is as much about the way and how much we interact with others, as with what we actually have to say.
That’s not to say, that what we have to communicate is not important, but rather that the mere act of communicating with others is itself a positive step in the right direction.
We have to genuinely interact and connectwith others–it’s a critical part of the influencing and teaming process.
Only then, does honing the message itself really make the difference we want it to.
People communicate with other people and this happens in a very direct, personal, and emotional way.
There is a Jewish saying that my wife often tells me that her grandfather used to say, “what comes from the heart goes to the heart.”
I think that is the correct notion–sincerity is at the core of it takes to really communicate effectively with others.
(Source Photo: herewith attribution to VisaAgency)