Are you influential?
Picture the scene. You’ve just been invited into an important meeting at work. You’ve been waiting for this moment for weeks. You step up to the plate, share your vision and then wait for the applause.
But the result was underwhelming. It seems to have fallen on deaf ears.
What’s more the missed opportunity might be your only chance to get your message across. Why does this happen?
Influencing people is one of the greatest challenges in the workplace. It’s the characteristic that defines good leadership because being able to bring people on the journey with you and share a vision will ultimately determine your success at work and also on a personal basis.
So what are the components of great communication that excites people, engages them and gets them doing what you want?
While you can look at the art of message crafting (and don’t get me wrong, this is important), some of the following intangibles will make the difference.
Empathy – Barack Obama often talks about the ‘empathy deficit’ that plagues America and it’s true, that when relating to people, putting yourself in their shoes allows you insights previously unavailable. Too often it’s easy to judge people’s behaviour because it’s different from your own. Show some empathy and see how quickly people get on board and follow you.
Passion – Remember Steve Irwin? He was a living example of passion. His high energy performances would leave you under no illusion that he was passionate about his subject. Even if you took just a little of his exuberance and injected it into your communication style, the results will show.
Humility –It’s too easy to feel that you need to have all the answers. But being able to ask questions, admit fault or lack of knowledge makes you far more authentic and personable. Know what you know, but don’t pretend to be the expert on everything. People see right through it and will start questioning everything you say.
Humour – The right level of humour at the right time can make people feel at ease and often relieve tension. Just keep it appropriate!
Finally, the ability to listen and adjust the message if it’s not working for you. Just like a good stand-up comedian, really analysing your audience and getting to grips with what they relate to and what literally bores them to tears can turn a good message into a truly memorable one.
Sometimes it’s not easy to self-reflect. Using a coach can help you define your style and look at areas that can be tweaked. It might be just some small changes that can transform the way you communicate with others. The results may be life-changing!
Kellie Hasluck is an executive coach at Clarity Communications.