As a leader, you will need to have strong conversation skills to get your business off the ground and see it flourish over the long-term.It’s important to keep in mind that communication, especially for a leader, is not just about the transmission of information. It’s also about forming connections and driving inspiration.
Communication is a critical aspect of building alignment within your organization and executing the strategy. Despite the importance, strong conversation skills are sometimes easier to talk about than to put in practice.
When it comes to the organization, itself, the way conversations take place will be highly dependent on the company culture. And the way the company culture is thought out will be entirely up to the leader. It needs to flow freely, in both directions, and all circumstances, good or poor.
But a leader will not be able to foster such a company culture if he or she does not have the necessary self-awareness to understand how their communication style impacts other people. To that end, there are also four, evident skills that leaders need to use, to drive clear and fruitful conversations with others. And all of them are strongly linked to how well leaders know themselves.
Despite the importance, strong conversation skills are sometimes easier to talk about than to put in practice.
Skill 1: Self-Awareness
It is through self-reflection that every person, regardless of their position within the company, can drive meaningful and useful conversations with their peers. By knowing themselves, they will be able to differentiate between what they observe in their conversation partners and their interpretations and feelings, which can skew those observations. It will help lower misinterpretations and miscommunications.
Skill 2: Self-Description
If communication is not clear or effective within an organization, people will start assuming things about others. They will begin concocting all sorts of stories as a means of making sense of what they perceive to be odd actions or behaviours. Over time, these will only get larger, completely altering one person’s view of another, even if that version is detached from reality entirely.
You need to make sure that these kinds of things kept at an absolute minimum. People will not always be able to read your intentions, so you must help them understand what you’re thinking. When talking to someone new and you feel that they didn’t fully understand, it’s best to ask them and explain yourself until you know you are on the same page.
Skill 3: The Curious Self
This skill revolves around understanding the experiences of others and putting yourself in their shoes. It is done by asking questions and listening to what they have to say. With enough tact, you will help others better understand themselves and employ the second skill mentioned above. When applying this skill, however, it’s crucial that you don’t interrupt by trying to fix things.
Skill 4: Self-Appreciation
Though it might come as a surprise to some, what we like or hate about other people is what we like or dislike about ourselves. Many experts agree that the way we view others is merely a mirror reflection of ourselves. We don’t know what goes on in their heads and will always implant ours.
It’s also important to remember that the key to any successful relationship is when you focus on the other’s merits and strengths, not on their flaws and weaknesses. You need to frame any interaction by looking at your partner as the hero of their own story, and not as the antagonist of yours, even if their actions may initially seem to be with ill intent. Going in with a positive attitude will usually make the difference between fruitful or unfruitful conversations. And this positivity will almost always come from self-appreciation.