When it comes to leadership there is one topic that we can never talk about enough. Communication. The way we communicate is the linchpin in our leadership. Learning to become a better communicator will always strengthen your ability to lead. There are many factors of communication we could talk about, but I’m learning one this year that I hope helps you as well as it’s helped me.
This past week I had to have a pretty tough conversation with a good friend of mine. After weeks of torturing myself by playing out the conversation in my head. I decided it was time to go talk with him. Thinking about how I was going to start the conversation, I played out every possible way to say what I needed to say to without disappointing him.
But then I had a revelation…
I was being selfish. I was more worried about how my friend would view me than I was in truly trying to make our situation better. This really came to light when I looked at how I had planned to go talk to him. In the way I had the conversation going in my head I would explain my why, balance all my statement just right, and deliver the news while keeping his view of me in tacked.
In doing this it would allow me to feel better about me instead of simply communicating my point. Sounds nice and all, but he would spend more time trying to figure out what I was about to tell them instead of understanding my balancing statements. All of his energy would be spent on reading between the lines instead of investing in the conversation we were having.
Something had to change
As I sat there in the wake of this revelation I realized something had to change. I wasn’t sure exactly what I needed to do, but I had to try something. I decided I was going to try three steps in communicating my thoughts. They are simple, but I feel this small change can really help us communicate in a stronger way.
Tell them what you wanted to say
Wow…revolutionary right? But how often do we try to justify what we are saying instead of simply stating what it is we want to say? When we do this it tends to confuse those we are talking to more than it helps them. So when I went in to talk with my friend the first thing I told him was why I was there. Plain and simple. No balancing statements. No justifying my actions. Just what I wanted to say.
Tell them why
Once you can simply state what it is you want to say, then you open up the conversation for greater detail. After telling my friend why I was there I spent some time giving more details and filling in the story. This allowed him to fully understand where I was coming from and why I had to say what I did. In doing this I was able to clearly communicate my point and help him understand why.
From there you can freely communicate and hear from them. They will be able to ask questions and gain a better understanding of what it is you are saying. After I was able to fill in the back story for my friend he was able to open up the discussion even more. He asked questions I didn’t even think about in my preparation which allowed us to connected and communicate more clearly.
I didn’t like the news I had to deliver to my friend. But as I left I knew that I had clearly communicated what I came to say. I didn’t balance all of my statements or spend a majority of the time trying to make myself feel better. I didn’t allow my words to get in the way of what I wanted to communicate. I simply communicated.
This change helped me see how I had spent a majority of my life confusing those I talked with instead of helping them see my perspective. I believe this simple yet powerful path will help you grow in your communication and leadership as well.Grow in your communication. Grow in your leadership. Click To Tweet
I do want to make sure I’m clear on one thing. I’m not writing this post because I am an expert communicator or have all of this figured out. But I am learning that the more and more I can put the other person before myself in the conversation, it only helps raise my level of communication and leadership. Maybe it will do the same for you too.
Question: What do you think? Do you find your words getting in the way of what you are trying to communicate?