3 Effective Communication Traits Commonly Overlooked


It’s the start of the year. As leaders, we ramp up our efforts to ace the year. Wanting to inspire our team to greater heights, we increase our communication efforts. We sign up for the latest communication skills training. We work out a communication checklist that goes something like this:

  • Company’s Mission and Purpose – check!

  • Goals and Strategy – check!

  • Team-building and Conference Venue – check!

  • Newsletter from the big boss – check!

  • Cover all communication channels e.g., emails, social media, videos, conferences, noticeboards, etc.. - check!

  • The list goes on. You get the idea.

In our effort to communicate successfully, we spend a huge amount of time crafting messages to our target audience. We create sophisticated decks with gorgeous graphics and a story to go with it. “This should do it!” we beam. With so much effort put in, surely the team will buy in and get inspired, right? Yes and ..

In our high-speed pace, I notice 3 nondescript traits of effective communication that are often overlooked:

Simplify for Precision: Many make the mistake of assuming more is more. The barrage of points overwhelm. Font sizes are shrunk to fit. The presenter accelerates the pace just to say it all in time.

To simplify isn’t lightweight. It’s delivering precision. Trade the volume for impact.

Listen to Engage: Many leaders communicate to instead of engage with. Effective communication is often explained as a loop. I love the Audrey McLaughlin quote: “When you listen, it's amazing what you can learn. When you act on what you've learned, it's amazing what you can change.”

Your team knows when they are heard and will reward you with their engagement.

Balance Head with Heart: Logic and emotion are the Yin & Yang of communication. The latest neurosciences finding suggests that decision making is not logical, but emotional. Choice is arguably made based on emotion supported by logic.1

The key is Balance. When proportioned well, your communication will create movement and action.

As leaders, we all do our best and hope the work we do will create a lasting impact that extends far beyond our immediate goal. Effective communication is an integral part of that work.

“The art of communication is the language of leadership” - James Humes

  1. Groundbreaking discovery by neuroscientist Antonio Damascio, https://bigthink.com/experts-corner/decisions-are-emotional-not-logical-the-neuroscience-behind-decision-making

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