Develop Your Communication Skills (Part 4)

Communication is the key to success in any relationship. Whether it is amongst family members, with your community, within a group, team or an organization, effective communication plays a vital role in the upward and downward flow of information. We must ensure easy flow both sides.

To develop our communication skills, we may think of an organization as a human body, and the various sections/professionals working therein as parts of the body and the top management as the brain. As we understand, the entire human body functions only because there is a constant exchange of signals between the brain and the different parts of the body. Therefore, for being a part of successful organization, you will have to ensure that there should always be well-defined channels of communication between the professionals and the top management.

Factually, it is not just a matter of creating communication channels but encouraging employees to communicate without fear. We have to remember that an environment where the communication process is not hindered in any way creates an atmosphere conducive to growth. Keeping in view the fast pace of life and challenging opportunities surfacing every moment, it has become inevitable to have live channels of communication, both formal and informal so as to transfer critical messages top down and bottom up.

Some organizations have started to hold one-day or two days seminars inviting the whole staff from top to bottom indirectly to review the communication channels whereas some organizations have set up a separate department for dissemination of the information and solving out the grievances of the employees. Human Resources Department of some organizations issue newsletters through which the employees are asked to contribute their views. This process helps the top management to capture the employees’ concerns and issues pertaining to the productivity of the various motivational factors. With the glut of information available with the staff, it becomes easy for them to validate the grapevine, re-validate the news and hear it from their leaders rather than on speculations.

You must Create a Value Proposition.

To develop your communication skills, you may imagine a world where everyone is in sales. Really, in some fashion, everyone of us is always in sales, not like a professional salesman on some retail counter to qualify with the sales to be made but you are a salesman when you are trying to sell to your spouse your ideas for the next holiday; Maybe you’re pitching a new project to your boss; Maybe you are headhunting someone to join your firm. It’s all selling, and, whatever your offer (product, idea, project or job) it’s important to have a really strong value proposition.

A value proposition is a short statement that clearly communicates the benefits that your potential client gets by using your product, service or idea. It “boils down” all the complexity of your sales pitch into something that your client can easily grasp and remember.

You may use audio-visuals.

For an effective presentation of your views, you may choose a right format of the audio-visuals. A picture is worth a thousand words. This is certainly true when you’re presenting and explaining data. You can provide tables setting out the figures, and you can talk about numbers, percentages, and relationships forever. However, the chances are that your point will be lost if you rely on these alone. You may put up a Line or Bar graph, Pie chart, Venn diagram graph or some picture and suddenly everything you’re saying makes sense! They help people understand data quickly. Whether you want to make a comparison, show a relationship, or highlight a trend, they help your audience “see” what you are talking about.

The trouble is there are so many different types of charts and graphs that it’s difficult to know which one to choose. Click on the chart option in your spreadsheet program and you’re presented with many styles. They all look smart, but which one is appropriate for the data you’ve collected? Can you use a bar graph to show a trend? Is a line graph appropriate for sales data? When do you use a pie chart? The spreadsheet will chart anything you tell it to, whether the end result makes sense or not. It just takes its orders and executes them!

You can add up some clippings from some popular movies, parts of speeches by the celebrities etc. in support of your statements. Kindly ensure that you are there to justify why you have put up the clippings.

You must get the right messages across in the right way.

Have you ever received a memo and felt the sender really wasn’t thinking about what you needed to know or hear? Maybe you have attended corporate presentations that have simply left you cold? Or perhaps you’ve even delivered communications yourself and realized, in retrospect, that you really hadn’t got the measure of your audience and their needs.

This is at best frustrating. At worst it is such a huge “turn off” that it can have a negative effect, or even produce an effect that is the exact opposite of the one you had intended.
Whether you need to communicate general day-to-day information or “big news” about major changes in your organization, the best communications start with some good planning.

The first step is to put yourself in the shoes of your audience. What do they need to know, and want to hear? What’s their preferred way of receiving information? What will stop them listening to what you have to say? And how will you know that they have got the message?

So there’s quite a bit more to good communications than preparing a good memo or presentation! This tool will help you through the preparation steps and so help you
create an audience-focused communication plan that’s sure to get your message heard.

You always need to market your message!

Good corporate communications is very much like good marketing. You have a message (product) that you need to ‘sell’ to your audience (customers). If they are going to ‘buy it’, you must package the message so that they can understand it and pay attention to it. You must make sure the value and benefit outweigh any downsides (the ‘price’ you are asking them to pay). And you must reach the audience through the right communication channels. Then, following the communications (promotion), you must be able to measure the effectiveness and how well the message is bought.

Be Happy – Develop Your Communication Skills.