Effective Communication: 4 Ways to Learn More by Listening
Effective communication is essential to building any professional relationship. During times where we are trying to revitalize our markets and grow our businesses, the sentiment is often expressed that we should communicate more or over-communicate. With social media platforms and other useful marketing technologies, we can easily enhance our capacity for outbound communication. A leader’s messaging can be inspirational, entertaining and informative. However, the real goal of communicating should always be to learn—and to learn you have to be present and, most importantly, willing to listen.
Spontaneity is Key
Meetings can be effective ways of passing along essential information in a timely manner, but most meetings have an agenda, a schedule that isn’t always built for discussion. We all have things to do, work to get done and, I don’t know about you, but meetings aren’t really where I get to know someone, especially an employee. The fact of the matter is, if you’re the head of a team or a manager, in a meeting most folks are looking for you to tell them what they need to know so they can effectively go on about their day. Forming real connections takes one-on-one interaction—actual conversation. Talking to people at every level of your firm, agency or company will really allow you to get the lay of the land, to hear the concerns and the victories of people at every level, allowing you to accurately map out where you are strongest and where the work needs to be put in.
Avoid Dominating the Conversation
In any conversation, not just those that are business-related, when one side dominates, it isn’t really a conversation worth having, or really a conversation at all. Part of being an effective communicator and a decent conversationalist is curiosity. Curiosity allows us to ask more questions than we do make statements, allowing for real interaction between however many contributors there are to the conversation. As a leader, within your company, you already hold the attention and the respect of those around you. Realizing a conversation is not a competition is really important to establishing a working and growing rapport with those who rely on you to lead in a way that represents their best interests because you know their primary concerns. Effective communication is about finding that common ground.
Promote the Sharing of Ideas
Creating a community or a culture of sharing is a great way to develop new approaches to classic and new obstacles. Whether it be one-on- one or creating times whenwhere teams from across an organization can work together or just socialize will identify issues you may have not even known were present, and, more importantly, will yield optimaloptional solutions to deal with said problems. We all have a limited perspective. We can’t possibly know everything that goes on even within our own companies. Being limited is a reality, one we can address through forming communities based on collaboration at every level.
Honesty…Plain and Simple
Most of the time the person that is most difficult to be honest with is ourselves, especially during times like we’ve endured the past six months., But it is only by taking an honest personal, financial and mental inventory that we can respond to those who count on us and come up with strategies resulting in positive and effective communication. Honestly is really just another word for a commitment to accuracy and a commitment to those we lead.
The James Allen Companies is committed to honest and direct communication with all of our clients within the insurance industry. We want to assist you in building and developing the very best teams within the market today, to bring the very best service to your clients when they need it the most.