Mintzberg estimated that managers spend between 50 – 90% of their time talking to people. So being an effective communicator is an important part of making your life as a manager a little easier.
There are many rather complicated theories about communication none of which really offer the practising manager much practical advice about being effective as a communicator. The headline is that there are a lot of blocks to your messages being received in the way that you intend: trust levels, climate, prejudices, perceptions, fears, hopes, context, history and so on. What is a pragmatic approach?
Here are some thoughts (hopefully of a practical nature):
- Honesty at all times.
- Sincerity – most people are very adept at picking up sincerity and its opposite.
- Be consistent.
- Spend as much time listening as you do talking.
- Try communicating a mixture of ideas, beliefs, things that impact people and facts – too much of one and not enough of the others will limit your impact and reach.
- Be positive.
- Find out about what really interests people and make your communication relevant to them.
- Communicate upwards, downwards and side ways.
- Share what you know.
- Use the grapevine to your advantage.
- Identify opinion leaders and formers and use them to get messages across.
- Don’t leave people in the dark.
Poor communication is one of the top complaints made about managers. The more effective you are in this area the easier your life will be.
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