Communicate with greater impact. Balance detail with clarity. Simplify through analogies and metaphors. Engage and inspire through stories. Pay attention to your tone of voice, and adjust your style to fit your audience.
Based on your success as a technical professional, you already know the importance of communication. But as a manager, you'll need to expand that concept and add in a whole new layer of communication skills. The maximize your effectiveness, this will be a critical part of your growth. I'll share six areas of communication you'll want to emphasize in your new management role. First, give your team members the information they need to perform efficiently. Get specific about goals and deadlines. Explain your rationale for decisions that impact their production.
And share company information that helps them understand the bigger picture. Use every touchpoint with your direct reports to tie their work back into the overall strategy and reconnect them with the business objectives. Never assume people already know or don't care about what you think or what you've learned at the all hands meeting. They want to understand your position and to feel like they're in the loop, so take the time to tell them. Second, simplify the complex.
You're probably accustomed to technical buzzwords and acronyms. Conversing with people who know the language. As a manager, your audience may include technical and non-technical people, so you'll want to go easy on the jargon. Beyond that, think carefully about the level and information that is really necessary for your broader audience. As a technical expert, your success was likely linked to your command of every minute detail, but you'll want to avoid communicating all of that to your more diverse audience.
Information overload could leave your team confused and overwhelmed. As for your boss and senior leaders, they only have time for the executive summary version. The 30,000 foot view will be more helpful from a business standpoint, so deliberately work to make your messages more succinct and understandable. Third, bring your messages to life. Remember that your goal when communicating with your team isn't just to transfer data. It's to engage and inspire your teams, to make an impact.
Give them messages that are meaningful and memorable. Persuasive, compelling. One way to do this is by including examples and analogies. Make it real. Tell a story that weaves in your key points, and that information will stick. Fourth, communicate with your team's perspective in mind. The usual tendency is to lay out the information we need, to share it in a fashion that makes the most sense to us. Instead, mentally jump across the table and think about the messages from your audience's point of view.
Every person takes in information through a filter of what does this mean to me? Not in a selfish way, but as a method of organizing new facts and determining their personal response or next steps. Don't vary the lead. Customize your message by first telling them about whatever will impact them the most. What details will they need or be interested in? When you address that right up front, they can focus on everything else you say, rather than internally making guesses about the bottom line of your message and jumping to the wrong conclusions.
Fifth, consider all of the components of your delivery. How you say things can be just as important as what you say. Be careful about your word choice and your tone. Your body language. All of those things matter. Either supporting or contradicting the message you're communicating. And keep in mind, this sensitivity to delivery is important whether you're talking one on one, sending an email, or making a formal presentation. When your message and all the components of your delivery work together, your impact is exponentially greater.
Finally, make it a two-way street. Communication was never meant to be one-directional. Ask questions and really listen. Request feedback and pay attention to the responses. With your background, you might even think of it as a scientific approach. When you gather real-time data from your team members, finding out whether they understood your explanation or how they're perceiving your leadership, you will have the tools to adjust what you're doing immediately, and potentially generate greater results.
By understanding these concepts and applying them, you can become a more effective manager who communicates like a seasoned leader.
- Moving from technical skills to relational skills
- Becoming more self-aware
- Communicating with greater impact
- Moving from individual to team results
- Broadening your perspective
- Building productive and meaningful relationships