How To Get Your Message Heard More Clearly As A Leader

While you have more opportunities than ever to communicate your thoughts, making sure those thoughts are clearly received is more difficult than ever.

When we have a resource in abundance, we tend to get sloppy in how we use that resource. No where is that more evident to me than in our communication. The minute we have a thought and want to share it... we do!

Ironically, all this instantaneous communication is making it harder than ever to get someone to pay attention to what you're saying, whether it's face-to-face, on the phone, or in an electronic format.

To communicate in such a way that a higher percentage of your thoughts are received in the way you intended, start doing these three things:

Have a goal for every interaction.
If you ever had a public speaking class, you know that you write the speech differently depending on what you want the listener to think or do after the speech is over. Take that same approach with any message you send or conversation you have with someone. Ask yourself:

  • What do I want them to think as a result of this communication?
  • How do I want them to work or act differently?
  • What am I hoping to change as a result of sharing these thoughts?

Choose an adjective or two to help frame your message.
Is this communication meant to be encouraging? Informational? Corrective? Persuasive? Choosing the adjective(s) can also help you determine the best format for the communication (i.e. text vs. phone call or email vs. face-to-face)

Ask "What are they thinking right now?" when the message has been delivered.
Take 15 seconds to evaluate the effectiveness of your communication to the other person. Replay the conversation in your head. Was the reaction of the other person the reaction you wanted? If the message was an email, reread it to see if you hit the mark with your intended goal for the communication. And if all else fails, ask them about the effectiveness of your message. Start with something simple like, "When we finished our conversation about ____________, what were you thinking?"

What are some tools you use to make sure that the message you intended to send is the message that was received?