Four Advanced Communication Skills


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The art of communicating authentically is a learned skill that takes coaching and practice to do well. Communicating authentically means being honest, open and thoughtful in what you say – and in how you listen and respond to what you hear. This tool describes four effective communication skills that will help leaders communicate authentically. (3 pages)

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Four Effective Communication Skills

Speak for Yourself

Effective leaders express their views directly. They state their concerns up front. One good way is to personalize your comments, taking responsibility for your positions, opinions and values, rather than offering generalizations or blaming others or outside forces. Say, “I feel disappointed about our progress,” rather than, “This group is the pits.”

The advantage of this approach is that it reduces defenses by not placing general or even specific blame on others. No one can argue that you’re not really concerned or that you’re secretly more optimistic than you admit. “I would like us to begin promptly at nine” is clear; “You’re late again! You hold us up every week” is guaranteed to provoke a defensive reaction.

Another way people hide their real positions is by burying them in questions. “Are you planning to make that statement in public?” is an attack, not a question. “I would rather you would not say that when we make our presentation” is also a negative comment, but at least you are directly acknowledging that this is your view, not an absolute judgment.

Does it seem like nitpicking? It’s not really. The major difference is in the kind of response you seek to evoke from your listeners.

Tailor Your Communication Style

Everyone has a signature style of communicating. These styles can be scientifically broken down into four categories: Directors, Expressers, Thinkers and Harmonizers. Straight Talk® enables you to discover your own style, and the style of others, and gain tips on how to make your communication more balanced and effective.

Take the Straight Talk® communication survey to discover your style.

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