Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, and to humble.
Your communication can build others up, or it can tear them down. As a leader, it is your responsibility to teach, encourage, and support. These all require quality communication. Here are four keys to quality communication.
Are you friend or foe? This is the very first question that others will seek to answer before any communication takes place. If they determine you to be a friend, they will trust you and quality communication can take place. If you are a foe, there will be no trust and without trust, there will be no true communication.
Quality communication is a two-way street. If you want the other party to participate, you must listen. Listening requires you to set aside your assumptions, turn off that little voice in your head that likes to judge others, and truly hear what is being said. When you really listen to the ideas, concerns, and opinions of others your communications will become more meaningful.
People are more open to quality communication if they know that you authentically care about them as an individual. No one likes to communicate with someone who is just going through the motions. When others know that you care about what they have to share and when they know you are looking out for their best interests, you will be able to communicate on a deeper level.
At the end of the day, all the communicating in the world does not matter if there is no follow-through. Never leave others wondering where things lie on an issue or idea. Have a follow-up conversation, even if it may not be what they want to hear. Follow-through shows respect and it is this respect that will improve the quality of conversations in the future.
Have you checked your communication lately? The only true communication is quality communication. When others know they can trust you; when you really listen to them; when they know you care; and when they can count on you to follow-through, then, and only then, can you start to truly communicate. What is the quality of your communication? It’s about time you find out.