Manager’s communication can count
Communication – verbal, nonverbal and written, is the core of your business. Unfortunately, this vital component is often treated as an afterthought. An ambiguous memo or poorly planned presentation may leave employees scratching their heads, or even worse, misinterpreting what was said.
As a manager, you are the company’s “communication center.” You are constantly communicating through words, gestures and facial expressions. By using the appropriate communication, not only do you excel in directing, planning and instructing, but you also perform one of the most important management functions.
Unfortunately many times communication goes wrong. Perhaps you didn’t communicate clearly. Sometimes you are apprehensive about how a message will be received. And sometimes there may be a lack of preparation on your part. This can result in a message or request not being clearly understood.
Other times communication is transmitted poorly. You need to set up well-defined communication channels.
More often than not, communication goes wrong due to the other person’s lack of attention, or because of an assumption made on the other’s part. The person listening may be anticipating something other than what you are saying. They may also be overwhelmed by too much information.
To avoid these problems, make sure your communications are short and to the point. Make them relevant to your employees’ jobs, as well. If you should suspect there is a problem with the message getting across, have your listener repeat it back to you.
Successful communication depends on not only what you say, but also on how you say it. Verbal communication can be successful if you follow these four steps:
■ Prepare your message. Know exactly what you want to say and what your purpose is.
■ Emphasis. Introduce your message and repeat the major features of it. Emphasize important issues.
■ Feedback. Have your listener repeat your message back, as they understand it. This way you can clarify any misunderstandings.
■ Monitor. Oversee the implementation of the message. You can then correct any inappropriate actions. Show interest, but please don’t hover.
Be aware of your verbal communication. Body language says a lot. Are you using direct eye contact, signaling openness? Or do you have your arms crossed, showing defensiveness? People will be more receptive to your communication when you show you are comfortable with them. Train yourself to maximize the positive meaning of your gestures.
If most of your communicating is written, then make sure you are prepared. Outline what you want to say and how you are going to say it. Make your communication easy to read. Use short paragraphs and familiar words. When you have written it, put it aside for a while if possible. Then reread it and make any necessary changes.