I worked with a client who was unsuccessful in communicating with upper management during the course of several meetings. His intention was to inform some high level managers about the positive and negative results of a recent project—information he believed the managers could use to benefit future projects.
My client staged a detailed slide presentation but was frustrated due to the managers’ lack of attention, which resulted in the topic being derailed. My client felt the managers not only didn’t see the information as important but also didn’t really hear his message. His style of communication was not effective.
Here is what I suggested as a starting point.
- Know your audience. Think about the other person’s perspective. To help people be more receptive to his message, my client needed to adjust his communication style to be less academic and more conversational. He also learned to start with the main points of the information he wanted to share, provide additional details when asked, and speak from a strategic perspective.
- Practice active listening. Active listening promotes a two-way conversation by asking questions and focusing on the needs of the other person. By doing this, my client could understand what was truly important to upper management regarding his project. He responded in a way that aligned with the focus of the managers and was able to change his perspective from a one-sided advising style to a two-way engaging style.
- Have a clear purpose. What is your desired outcome for yourself and for the other person? Be clear about your objective. My client’s desired result for the discussion was to communicate to the managers exactly what he needed to be able to move forward with the project.
Effective communication leads to strong relationships, clear expectations, trust, problem solving, and knowledge. Use these three steps to enhance your communication today!
About the Author
Terry Watkins is a Coaching Solutions Partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies’ Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 130 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services. And check out Coaching Tuesday every week at Blanchard LeaderChat for ideas, research, and inspirations from the world of executive coaching.