How to get your team to listen to you

Leadership communication is a discipline and a practice: the more time and effort you put in, the more effective you become.

Here are seven handy tips, thanks to www.entrepreneur.com, to help you focus your attention, improve your leadership communication skills and have your team really listen to you:

1. Be authentic.

When you speak to your team, you must come across to them as real. This means sharing your beliefs and your struggles. Talking about moments of doubt but also explaining how you overcame them with more conviction and confidence than ever. Or perhaps share a story or two about a failure and disappointment in life.

2. Know yourself.

Dig deep. Know your values and what motivates you. If you don’t know yourself you cannot share or connect with others. People want to know what makes you tick as a human being not just as a leader.

3. Rely on a good coach or a trusted advisor.

Developing good communication skills takes time – and in the rush of business, that’s scarce. Having someone who can push you to examine and reveal your interests and passions is enormously helpful and the value is immeasurable.

4. Read up on leadership communication.

If you can’t hire a coach, then reading up on the topic will help. Take a look at Terry Pierce’s Leading Out Loud as a starting point.

5. Make your values visible.

Effective, empathetic communication and a commitment to culture can provide a solid foundation for your ideas and contribute to making it a reality. Many of today’s most successful companies have gone through dramatic crises. Their improvements often hinged upon genuine communication from the leaders.

6. Engage with stories.

If you tend to focus on the numbers your business generates, it can take some time to learn that if you want to make a point and convince people, you can’t rely on facts and figures alone. It’s stories that people remember. The personal experiences and stories you share with others create emotional engagement, decrease resistance and give meaning. It is meaning that gets employees’ hearts and fuels discretionary effort, thinking and desire to actively support the business.

7. Be present.

There is no autopilot for leadership communication. You must be fully present to move people to listen and pay attention, rather than simply be in attendance. Any time you are communicating, you need to be prepared — and to speak from your heart. Leadership communication is, after all, about how you make others feel. What do you want people to feel, believe and do as a result of your communication? This absolutely can’t happen if you read a speech. No matter how beautifully it is written, it doesn’t come across as authentic or from your heart if you are reading it. Embrace what you want to say and use notes if you must, but never read a speech if you want to be believable and move people to action. (And yes this requires a lot of preparation).

Your speeches are visible and important components of your role as a leader. Successful entrepreneurs are conscious of that role in every communication, interaction and venue within the organization and beyond. They also know that while today’s world provides a wide range of ways to communicate to your organisation – mass email, text, Twitter, instant message and more – connecting is not that simple. Electronic communication is a tool for communicating information – not for inspiring passion.

How do you communicate with your team?

Make your team listen to you!