… In fact, I believe the foundation of effective business is all about productive conversations. As a leader, or indeed as an employee, you add value to your role, your organisation and your Clients by having communication expertise. Communication is the foundation of all great relationships, and great relationships inherently have rock-solid trust. Beyond financial and productivity measures – strong relationships built on trust ultimately determine business success.
Even after all these years of being able to speak we often can’t quite get it right or working effectively with others, we can’t walk away from conversing with others either – we need it every day. We have to work on it, be aware of it, and look for ways to use language better so our messages are clearly understood. My intention for you, in this Productive Conversations series, is to understand how you can make your communication valuable for yourself and others, and also communicate with more ease. I believe your voice is the most powerful tool you have in your life – whether it’s speaking, writing, moving your body – it is all critical to your success.
You demonstrate value to your organisation by how well you communicate.
Business is conducted by a series of conversations – whether face-to-face, on the phone, or using technology to aid. Your conversations can be productive by linking them to three areas:
- Time efficiency; too many people involve themselves in busy-ness and not giving their communication the design and intention it requires. We bark orders, take shortcuts, don’t read the situation or others, and forget to pause and consider what we’re saying before we release the words.
- Managing energy; if you’re not communicating well it leads to double handling, misinterpreted instructions, frustration and arguments, which ultimately takes you down the road to burnout. Or ever noticed how a positive conversation, or useful and delicately worded feedback can boost your energy?
- Maintaining excellent connections; we need be aware of being time and energy efficient but also being able to balance relationship time with our team and customers. Being able to identify what you can outsource and automate in your comms, and identify which ways of working still require capability to build empathy, trust and connection.
These productive conversation skills are essential across all stakeholders, but crucially internal communications with your people are most important. How leaders handle the flow of information to, from, and among their employees fuels performance, and trickles out to their approach with customers. Traditionally, leaders took a command and control approach, but increasingly this style of communication doesn’t work. These days, communication needs to be more dynamic and sophisticated, and relies heavily on a conversational tone by being relatable, understandable and real.
In a study published in HBR, Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind identified four elements of great organisational conversation that leaders can adopt, which reflect the essential attributes of interpersonal conversation. Techniques that build intimacy, interactivity, inclusion and intentionality. We’ll investigate these concepts in the coming weeks.
Great leaders are increasingly getting better at the art of listening to people (across all levels). Experts agree that listening makes up more than 50% of a productive conversation. ‘Active listening’ is a crucial leadership skill – I’d love to introduce you to a tool I use with Clients, honing the ability to listen from the head, heart and gut.
Experiment a little…
We’re going to look at a series of concepts, tools and hacks to build your productive conversations toolkit. We might break the habits you’ve formed. We will make your conversations valuable, relationships better, and way of doing business more effective.
Look forward to the adventure with you!