Despite the fact that project teams are strong, projects fail, companies lose tremendous amount of capital due to it and also a lot of crucial time. Somehow the teams just don’t gel together and hence everything breaks. One of the most evident reason behind this is lack of communication among teams. Definitely someone has not done their job right. Due to which these projects are not what had been envisioned by the people investing in them. It is critical that a leader should ensure that the communication is consistent, clear and above all makes sense.
A peer in the previous company that I worked for, said once – ‘The skills are great to have, direction from leadership is necessary as well but communication is the king in any project.’ Had I not listened to him at that time I might have not made a conscious effort of putting communication at the forefront in all of the projects. Possibly, all my projects would have been a huge disappointment. Luckily, I always wanted to possess excellent communication skills to be able to shine in my career.
The most unfortunate part is communication is not given enough importance in most of the projects. It is considered as a crucial ‘soft’ skill of a project but not the most important facet. Not right according to me. So many man-hours, conflicts, arguments, capital and above all time could have been saved, had someone from the leadership who calls the shot, can ensure that communication is the top priority.
There are many layers in communication. We wish it could have been that simple. An astute communicator is the one who understands all these layers.
- The unsaid part: What is not said is the most important part of any communication. Therefore, it is very important that the receiver understands the intentions behind the thought. Read between the lines and half of the problem is solved.
“The Single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.“ – George Bernard Shaw
- Use of right words at the right time: Every word is a real estate that occupies the space in a talk or written communication. Master the usage of right and positive words to enhance the quality of the communication to your audience. You owe them since they are listening to you. Haven’t we seen managers making the same mistake over and over again, by using words that are derogatory in meaning or making sarcastic comments. This never helps in a team environment.
- Tone: The tonality makes you the most pleasant and likable personality in the room. Unless really needed, don’t raise your voice till the time, say, you are not heard at all and been heckled in a conversation. Conflicts are quite natural if the tone is not correct. If your tone is harsh but what you said is very kind and favorable to the other person, there are good chances that this person will not like you.
- Articulation and modulation of voice : Every storyteller or a great orator uses these two facets of communication very intelligently in their speech. It gives the speech so much dynamism and charisma that the listeners just got so much engrossed in the speech.
- Speed: If you are talking too fast you are considered someone who doesn’t value others thought process. If you are too slow, you are boring and people might go to sleep. The speed should be absolutely impeccable to have a great learning and engaging session.
Now, being so technical about communication with the above points, let’s add a layman twist to it. Record your video and listen to it. Ask for a feedback from a family member or colleague. If it doesn’t sound like you are supremely impressive and is not engaging enough, drop it. Start all over again and speak till you find the sweet spot where everything flow naturally. That is my friend, which is appreciated by your audience! Otherwise, you have lost the opportunity to speak again.
The point is, to become the best speaker or orator the communication should be human. It should be a healthy mix of feelings, emotions, passion, gratitude, empathy and optimism.
When communicating, some of us forget our audience. Your audience would love to hear what they want to hear and not what you have prepared. Be natural, be authentic. Your language should be so simple that it should sound effortless. Basically, communication should be given so much stress in order to simplify things which are complex.
Some of these aspects and more detailed views are covered in one of the best-selling books by Kerry Patterson Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High.
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