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11 Practical Ways to Refine Communication Skills for Executives

Most, if not all, of the conflicts and relationship difficulties, personal or professional, are linked to a lack of effective communication. 

Regardless of your chosen field, ambitious professionals always share a strong desire to advance their careers. For many, that entails developing a career that leads to a position at the C-level of a top business in their industry. Senior executives are responsible for communicating the organisation’s vision hence they must be able to communicate with other executives, workers, and public at large in order to effectively convey the company’s goal. Still when it comes to communicating effectively, you feel you do not have those skills in you and you fail to make an impact.

Let’s understand why it is the way it is…

Most of you have never learned to communicate, you subconsciously reproduce what you have observed and absorbed from your immediate environment- your parents, teachers, friends, colleagues and unfortunately, they themselves have done the same. However, the quality of your life is intimately linked to the quality of your communication, and you just cannot not communicate. You do not only communicate with those around you but also with your own self.

What should you do then? 

As a senior executive you must learn and practice transformative communication, which means experiencing, developing and including qualities such as empathy, responsibility, integrity, assertiveness and leadership. I understand it is easier said than done, but these add-on skills can reduce confusion, encourage transparency, and improve the productivity and collaboration of the entire executive team.

Here are the 11 practical ways to develop your business communication skills-

  1. Clear your objective.

Decide what you want to accomplish before you start talking. Consider a discussion as a journey you are going on together. If any of you is unsure of where you’re headed, it will start to deviate off course pretty rapidly. Only if you both properly understand your goals will the journey be successful.

 It’s crucial that you clearly explain your goal from the outset. Specify a headline. State your major point at the beginning of the conversation if you are aware of it.

  1. Limit Confusing Words.

Technical jargon and words like “A/B testing,” “content marketing,” and “conversion optimization” frequently appear in all industries. Some people use terminology that are unclear to those around them without even realizing it. Although using industry-specific language may seem natural, it can exclude those who are attempting to participate in the discourse.

You can improve connections with leaders and the team by avoiding using these terms in talks with other team members. Additionally, it’s crucial to pay attention to what other people are saying and the terminology they employ to describe particular circumstances in the field. Both you and your audience can benefit from using clearer language as they strive to improve their communication skills.

  1. Be authentic.

Be genuine and truly curious about learning about your audience as persons. Keep in mind that people have human interests, views, doubts, achievements, failures, and their own personal stories just like everyone else. People who are liked by them do business with them. Tell them through words and actions that you are sure of yourself, that you are not frightened by them or turned off by them, and that you genuinely care about their success and the success of the company.

  1. Set boundaries for yourself and abide by them.

Choose which, if any, face-to-face discussions you won’t permit to be disrupted by digital voices. Do your best to be fully present. Your people will realise they might not get a prompt reply to their texts from you as you begin to wean yourself off your phone reliance and also micro-managing and spoon feeding. It’s okay that way. Remember, leadership is about galvanizing people.

  1. Choose your communication channels wisely.

Short messages like where to meet, yes-or-no questions, a brief check-in, or a straightforward word of encouragement can be sent via text message. However, it is more crucial to adopt more subtle communication techniques the more significant the message and the higher the stakes. Invest time in learning about media richness theory. Also, you can become a great communicator by listening to the advice of professionals and then putting what you learn into practice.

  1. Be assertive.

As a leader you must stand up for and speak out on what you believe in – it requires courage, but it shows your followers that you have a moral compass and are worthy of their trust. It gives them the confidence to follow you. You have to learn to show your character – people must know what you care about and what your beliefs are. This will make you more predictable, and inspire them to follow your beliefs.

  1. Positive body language.

Always remember that people will be watching your actions as a leader. The higher you go in the organization, the more people will be scrutinizing your behaviour. If you want to be a great leader, you’ll need to get used to people viewing and evaluating your every move. Many executives underestimate the importance of their behaviour to the people they lead. As a leader, you communicate warmth nonverbal y with open body postures, palm-up hand gestures, a full -frontal body orientation, positive eye contact, synchronized movements, head nods, head tilts, and smiles.

  1. Pay attention to paralanguage.

Consider tone, pace, pitch, pronunciation, articulation and cadence. More than what you have to convey, how you convey the message matters more. Understand the tone and cadence of the audience you’re dealing with and thus communicate accordingly.

  1. Know your audience.

Keep it short and straightforward and keep in mind that you are the organization’s face as a senior executive. The values and organisational structure of your organisation are reflected in what you say and how you behave, thus it is important to know who your audience is and how to communicate effectively with them.

  1. Be confident and display confidence.

There are many nonverbal signals of confidence: showing your torso is one way of demonstrating a high level of confidence, security, or trust. The more you cover your torso with folded arms, crossed legs, and so on, the more it appears that you need to protect or defend yourself. Feet also say a lot about your self-confidence. When you stand with your feet close together, you can seem timid or hesitant. But when you widen your stance, relax your knees, and centre your weight in your lower body, you look more “solid” and sure of yourself.

  1. Listen to respond, not react.

A crucial and much ignored component of communication is listening. The other participants in the conversation can feel heard and appreciated when the listener is effective. Employees must, however, go above and beyond when speaking with higher-level staff. They ought to be equipped to address complaints, address issues, and respond to inquiries.

Your success as a senior executive depends on your ability to hold effective and productive conversations. Effective communication can distinguish between poor and excellent performance. Leaders who can motivate people to achieve great things design fantastic workplaces. They empower those they work with to be better than they imagined they could be and to accomplish more than they ever imagined. They promote creativity. They support the growth and success of enterprises. They contribute to an overall development. Better enterprises are created as a result, which benefits all parties.

Drop me a ‘Hello’ at archana@archanaparmar.com to start your journey of becoming an effective communicator.