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By Lucero Tagle, co-founder of communication coaching platform, PitchNinjas
All great communicators will know the line “communication is the glue that holds an organisation together”.
From C-suite executives to new-starters and first-time managers; effective, persuasive and confident communication skills are key requirements for every level of an organisation. It’s the difference between a good manager and a great manager, a nice workplace and a thriving workplace. But what makes a good communicator, and does it really benefit a business?
Defining a great communicator
Whilst there are many things that make up a great communicator (usually we think of someone who is confident, persuasive, and clear), it also means being effective in different communications contexts. Whether that’s navigating a conflict, getting someone to buy into your idea or providing constructive feedback, a great communicator will be able handle these scenarios with ease, objectivity and clarity. Usually, they will have the following traits:
- Over-communicate: A good communicator won’t assume that someone knows what they’re talking about, they will avoid jargon, and be able to streamline complex topics, situations and concepts.
- Being authentic: People can easily recognise when someone is being authentic and when they’re not. Someone who is authentic is much more likely to be trusted and listened to.
- Diplomatic and empathetic: Particularly in situations of conflict, a good communicator will be able to remain diplomatic, calm and be able to see things from someone else’s perspective.
- A good listener: Above all, a great communicator is a good listener, someone who can listen and understand what the objective of the conversation is.
The business impact of effective communications
It reduces inefficiencies
Those who have ever been in a situation where a project is delayed or repeatedly extended due to unclear feedback and countless do-overs will know this too well. When it comes to good communication as a manager, it’s all about clear, actionable feedback: what’s wrong, why is it wrong, how can it be improved. Sounds simple enough, right? Yet too many times that feedback is packaged as vague, woolly or blunt sentences, which isn’t helpful for individuals or teams.
Clear communicators who can feedback effectively the first time reduce the amount of time spent going back and forth on projects or actions, because they give feedback right the first time. This isn’t only beneficial for projects and teams as a whole, it’s better for individuals too. By telling someone why something isn’t right, they’ll be able to make a mental note and keep it in mind for future work they do. Meaning less repeated mistakes, resulting in better workflow, meaning greater productivity.
Effective communication can create a positive workplace culture
We’ve all heard of the horror stories of tyrant bosses, nightmare managers, and rude colleagues – bad communicators can create a bad workplace culture. If someone at work is rude to us, humiliates us or is just difficult to work with, it impacts our work. It might knock our confidence, or make us feel embarrassed or ashamed. So when this behaviour is allowed, or even worse, rewarded in a workplace, it sends two messages; negative communication is acceptable here and you can get away with speaking to your colleagues like this, which can contribute to an unhappy workforce.
And it doesn’t take a genius to tell you that people who don’t feel happy at work are often less productive, less creative and suffer from poor mental health – just sift through the numerous workplace culture articles and research online. In fact, the Society of Human Resource Management reports that turnover due to bad work cultures cost American businesses $223 billion in the last five years.
On the flipside, positive communication can boost employee morale, engagement, productivity, and satisfaction because it encourages cooperation and collaboration. It also fosters an environment of respect where people feel listened to, they can share their ideas and improve self-confidence, all of which will have a positive impact on their work.
It can result in happier customers and clients
The internal benefits of positive communication are insurmountable, especially if that effective communication is coming from every level of the company. But great communicators will also have a positive impact on your business service, whether you’re selling to b2b or b2c customers and clients, being able to deal with their issues, manage expectations and communicate with them in a kind, authentic, effective manner will help to build trust and rapport with them.
More often than not issues with clients and customers can be dealt with by a focussed conversation around what the issue is, why it’s an issue, and how it can be solved. During these types of conversations both parties are usually fighting to be heard, but simply listening (rather than waiting for your turn to speak) can make the person with the issue feel listened to and ensure the problem is thoroughly understood so it can then be resolved – something the effective communicators will know all too well.
About the author
Lucero has over 20 years of experience in People Development working for Google’s People Operations team, startups and scaleups. She is a Leadership Coach, an L&D Professional, Angel Investor and Startup Advisor. She co-founded PitchNinjas with Joanna during the pandemic. Most recently, she has been coaching founders to land their pitch and secure investment.
As a business psychologist and leadership coach, Lucero can comment and provide expertise on more effective management and leadership, fostering a positive working culture, attracting talent and effective communication within a workplace setting.