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Communication specialist shares hope for bad bosses

Most managers and leaders worked their way to the top after being technically good at their job, and they were next in line for a promotion. 

Yet, most bosses do not know how to communicate because they were not formally trained in communication skills. The majority of these managers and leaders operate from their “worker mindset” background or by modeling themselves on their previous bad boss.

The definition of effective management and leadership is “getting the work done through the actions of others.”  This means every manager and leader must motivate, inspire and communicate their thoughts, vision and ideas to their team to get results. However most managers and leaders struggle to articulate themselves in a clear, concise and confident manner.

Distinction Services conducted research by asking executives, “Do you believe you are an effective communicator?” and 62 per cent said ‘yes’. When their employees were asked, “Does your manager have strong communication skills?” only 25 per cent said ‘yes’. Imagine how this poor communication affects the business with their suppliers, customers and prospects.

One of the common mistakes bosses make is to express only their own ideas and thoughts, presenting a point or an argument with statements from only their point of view. This prohibits two-way communication.

Tips to improve one’s communication and public speaking skills?

Most people feel that the person talking does not understand their problems, frustrations and what is important to them. One of the most important tips to remember when you want to get your point across, start talking from your audience’s perspective. This will open the communication channel and lower the tension.

Another sure method is to state facts that they cannot argue. People who have their facts straight are more convincing, persuasive and overall influential. When you state facts, a good method to use is to make a point and then to give a reason. Remember that if you don’t give a rock solid reason after you state a fact, then you are merely having an opinion, not a valid point.

Bosses normally have bad presentation skills

Bosses need to give presentations almost every day of their life. Their presentations can range from feedback sessions on the budget, changes to the production, meeting with shareholders, speaking at quarterly and monthly meetings to their team etc.

The fear of public speaking can be very debilitating for a lot of people, but it does not have to be this way.

Practical tips

  • Learn to listen first before you speak. The more you can be informed by asking the right questions the better your response will be.
  • Use simple English words that will not discombobulate, sorry, confuse your audience. Clear communication is essential to ensure everyone understands exactly what you are saying.
  • Know your topic well – you will feel instantly more confident talking about something you know a lot about.
  • Prepare in advance and don’t leave it to the last minute as this will add unnecessary stress. Try to make less points with more information around every point. A personal story will help you explain yourself easier and then make the point.
  • When you want to explain something more complex it is vital to use an analogy that everyone understands to help them relate to what you are trying to say.
  • Do not let your team members come to their own conclusion of the message you’re trying to convey. A great technique to help you explain yourself clearly is to make a point and then to say: “which means…” This will help you avoid any confusion.
  • Practice prevents panicking. Do not practice in-front of a mirror. Stand up and speak up to hear yourself delivering the speech, pitch or presentation. You will flesh out the tongue twisters.

About the Author

Trevor Ambrose is the Director of changingtools.com

Trevor will be speaking at the Peak Performance Business Conference on 27 March 2014 with Ben Roberts-Smith, Peter Switzer and Amanda Stevens.

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