Communication skills are important for anyone in a business, but especially so for managers. The word ‘manager’ is interchangeable with ‘leader’ and great leaders only exist because of their ability to listen, motivate and inspire.
A great manager is one who can implement these three things effectively and in tandem with one another. It all starts with excellent communication. Here are the 11 management communication skills you can develop to lead your organisation into the future.
- Learn to Read Body Language
- Actively Listen
- Be Clear in Your Language
- Know How to Tweak Your Tone of Voice When Writing Internal Comms
- Be Trustworthy
- Speak in Specifics
- Practise Open-Mindedness
- Empathy Over Ego
- Contribute More Than You Receive
- Treat Groups as Individuals
- Remain Adaptable
1. Learn to Read Body Language
In any setting, body language can be more truthful and revealing than what’s actually being said. A successful manager will pay attention to this non-verbal language and allow it to influence their own communication and decision-making.
There’s a very real advantage in reading body language. In any face-to-face communication, body language can be read to determine the honesty, comfort and confidence in what’s being said. If someone isn’t confident in an idea, process or event, it can be revealed by their body language.
Body language during meetings is very important, especially within any negotiations. It gives you an edge on your competitor, client or investor by giving you the time to tailor your language to their preference or identify any issues they have going forward.
2. Actively Listen
Active listening is a skill that can be very much overlooked. For a manager to excel, they need to balance actively speaking with actively listening. The relationship between a manager and an employee is a give-and-take process. Without a manager’s ability to actively listen, problems can be ignored or even missed, resulting in an unhappy workforce.
Active listening results in information-rich communications, including catching details and even vocal cues. It can even result in spotting inflections and pauses that others may miss - which could be crucial in a business setting.
One way to improve your active listening skills is to empathise with the subject. If they’re excited, you’re excited. If they’re concerned, you’re concerned. Listening is as much about the reflecting and accepting of emotions as it is actually listening to the words being said.
3. Be Clear in Your Language
With many things being said or many points of view being heard within a meeting, your messages can become lost. It’s also easy for someone to switch off in a meeting or get distracted so you need to be able to combat this by speaking clearly and concisely.
The main thing you can strive for in any piece of communication is ‘clarity’. Say what you need to say in a way which doesn’t cause confusion or misunderstanding. Think about your objectives and any issues these might raise. Then, work to describe these objectives and any solutions.
Spend some time watching speeches to see how others deliver concise information that’s rich in clarity (TED Talks are a great example of this). You can also listen to interviews and podcasts which are time-controlled environments where a person describes a great amount of information in the shortest amount of time.
These are great ways to research developing clear communications.
4. Know How to Tweak Your Tone of Voice When Writing Internal Comms
In a business environment, a lot of communication won’t be done verbally. In both internal communications like emails and external, such as e-shots, product/service descriptions and newsletters - having a strong talent for writing is a big advantage.
By this, we don't just mean brushing up on your grammar and spelling. We're talking about knowing how to adapt your messaging to the personalities of the people you're writing to.
It’s all about tone. Tone is the voice we use to convey a message and is built around the words we use. Your tone needs to be adapted depending on the intended audience. When you’re writing, ask the question ‘How will my audience react to this?’.
Tone is the defining factor when it comes to writing persuasive copy that connects an audience to your point of view. It’s a great way of determining whether your writing will be received in the way you want it to be.
5. Be Trustworthy
Being trustworthy is one of the most important qualities any manager should practise. Trust creates loyalty and loyalty creates a dynamic team that works with you, not against you.
Building trust comes from practising both care and integrity for your colleagues and workforce. The right actions and decisions that put the health of the business and the welfare of employees first will be highly welcomed by all.
Furthermore, any mistakes can be forgiven easily if there’s trust in a relationship but grudges can be harboured if trust is otherwise absent.
6. Speak In Specifics
Similar to being clear in your communications, choose specificity over ambiguity.
Specificity within our language means using the words that are appropriate and required within our work environment. Each business will have specific keywords and phrases that mean certain things, with each department using different ones.
Remember to learn the language of your business so you can actively communicate with colleagues and participate in cross-departmental discussions.
7. Practise Open-Mindedness
Closed minds produce limited ideas and constrictive circumstances. Entertaining a closed mind means you’re less open to new or second opinions, less able to learn from mistakes and less likeky to try new ideas.
A great manager doesn’t immediately seek to quell dissent but should understand differing opinions to see if there’s anything to gain. It helps improve the overall working environment of an office by increasing collaboration and the use of real-time information.
Views that don’t seem to be the same as yours shouldn’t be feared but scrutinised open-mindedly. You may find you were correct in your original position, but more often than not, you’ll find that the opposing view can offer some remarkable insight into a certain idea or process. Within a business environment, communication should be encouraged to be open and non-judgemental.
It’s not the actual opinion that matters, but how we interact with those opinions in a way which will benefit everyone.
8. Empathy Over Ego
Inflated egos are the most common factor for an unsuccessful management position. Maintaining an inflated ego denies the development of the skills we’ve previously mentioned such as open-mindedness and active listening.
Empathetic communicators are the ones who practise authenticity. Their communication is transparent, emotive and humble. Practising empathy helps to lessen anger and mistrust, replacing it with honesty, understanding and a more level playing field.
9. Contribute More Than You Receive
One of the more practical management communication skills is to offer an equal or greater amount of information to the people who give you the same. A great communicator takes in information but also acts as a source of it, promoting and spreading their ideas to the appropriate audiences.
A manager should always focus on contributing more to the conversation than what they receive. This is also a great idea to instil into your colleagues and workforce.
10. Treat Groups as Individuals
Communication is rarely ever one-to-one within an organisation. While this doesn’t raise any immediate issues, it does present an opportunity. At this point, you can begin to tailor your communication so a group feels like they’re being spoken to directly.
You can call it ‘working a room’, but the simple idea is this: a group, however large, can be spoken to as a singular person. When addressing an audience, think of their objections and pain points, as well as their cumulative desires and work to solve them within your speech.
By treating the room as an individual, you’re establishing yourself as someone with credibility, someone who cares about the lives and issues of the workforce.
11. Remain Adaptable
Communication isn’t always met with smiling faces and it isn’t always smooth sailing. A great manager will always do three things at these points: provide actionable points to sort through issues, adapt their communication to fit the altered environment and, if needs be, rely on a contingency plan.
If the situation changes, remember that you can remain adaptable by trying to realign your objectives with the environment. However, you can always try and prevent a change in circumstance by remaining true in your words and intent. A well-reasoned argument shouldn’t cause too much chaos within a business setting if it’s based upon facts and figures.
Finally, remember that as a manager, communication isn’t really about you - you’re a facilitator. Facilitators act as neutral, steadfast points of reassurance, help and non-judgemental guidance.
We realise it can be hard to try and actively develop your management communication skills because you’re busy and they can be fairly ephemeral things to identify and enhance. However, you’re not alone in your quest for better communicative abilities. To help, we’ve developed a useful guide to help you improve upon your innate powers of communication.
Improve Your Communication Skills Today
Our Communication Skills Handbook covers many different areas of communication within a business environment. In it, you’ll discover the ways to enhance inter-departmental communication, communication as a manager, public speaking skills and much more.
Click the link below to download your free copy.