Communication Skills Of A Good Manager

Communication Skills Training  is a vital component of streamlining correspondence within any organization regardless of what size they are or what business they are into. Such soft skills training programs equip the people that matter with the skills that matter even more. Even Fortune 500 Companies understand this well.

Every employee has at least one story of working under a manager who was just a poor communicator. I have my own story too. It was a long time ago, but the emotional wounds from the experience make me feel like it was only yesterday. The manager I worked under was, by all polite standards, an enigma. He wasn’t clear about what his expectations were, his feedback (whether positive or negative) was always vague and ambiguous and his instructions were confusing to say the least. Simply put, he had poor communication skills. This caused problems in every area of his job – poor rapport with his subordinates, lack of camaraderie with his peers and animosity with his superiors. Surprisingly, his stint lasted longer than it should have. My guess is that it took the company a few years to figure out if whether he was so smart that they couldn’t figure him out or if they were so dumb that he couldn’t get through to them. Clarity eventually won the battle and he left. But his departure left such a huge ‘crater’ of confusion that the entire company revamped its method, mode and policy for communication across the board. In the aftermath, the new communication policy was VERY clear!

So what communication skills should a good manager have anyway? What makes him a good communicator? Managers carry a great deal of responsibility on their shoulders that encompass actual job responsibilities, manage production output and quality, marshaling personnel and resources and all the while keeping the whole game within the satisfactory limits of the administration’s watchful gaze. Lets look at a few aspects of good communication that a manager should keep in mind:

• Managers with good communication skills make sure they are very clear about their goals, expectations and vision.

• They give clear and consistent feedback through the whole process of execution so that the required parameters of performance or quality are adhered to with minimum margin of error.

• They communicate any progress or deficiency clearly to higher levels of authority so appropriate decisions can be made accordingly.

• However the work culminates, they make sure to give adequate encouragement and feedback to the team on a job well done, inspiring a spirit of excellence for the next time around.

 

For more information on Communication Skills Training, please refer to this article:

 The Science of Non verbal communication 

Handling Difficult Conversations – A Leadership Essential 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three Simple Tips to Better Business Writing

The internet changed the world in more ways than we can imagine. With the power of the web, we can not only access information with the simple click of a button but we can also transmit information, whether it is upload a photo or share a document, just as easily. But the biggest impact the internet had is in the area of communication. With the advent of email, letter writing has virtually become obsolete and long gone are the days when a person had to wait for weeks to get a letter from their family across the ocean. Writing has continued to be the staple form of communication though. And in the business world, there is a clear set of unwritten rules that actually even dictate how writing ought to take place. Hence business writing skills training is an important corporate training program. In this blog we will look at 3 simple areas where some basic business writing skills are needed:

Clarity

Being clear is one of the most important aspects of business writing. Often business documents or articles tend to use sophisticated jargon or terminology for the sake of sounding professional or eloquent. But if that takes away from comprehending the article well, it has not served it’s purpose in communicating its message. Longer sentences must be avoided when shorter sentences will work just as well.

Simplicity

Especially when writing emails, it is better to get straight to the point. If the opening paragraph doesn’t get to the heart of the matter concisely, it is better to start over. Business correspondence must be direct so that the intended message drives home instantly. It helps to ask yourself, before you compose the email, what exactly you want the person reading this to do and if that comes across in a simple manner.

Etiquette

There is such a thing as professional etiquette of communication even if it is over the internet via email or other mediums. Short-hand must be avoided as must other slang like smiley faces. It is also considered polite to not over use capitalization or exclamation marks to make a point.
Business Writing Training programs are employed regularly by companies to help equip their employees to adhere to current corporate standards of business communication.

For more information on  Email Etiquette Training and Business Writing Training programs, please refer to these articles/blogs:

Essentials for Effective Communication

Why Communication Skills are the Epitome of Human Progress

 

The Art of Giving Knock-Out Sales Presentations

All the hard work has finally paid off – You did your market research, analyzed the economy, zeroed in on the target audience and did your homework on the customer. They took the bait and now you’re sitting in their conference room, ready to give your pitch. If there is ever a time to pull out your best sales strategies, it is now! There is just one problem – your customer has probably heard at least ten other sales pitches that day, so why should you think he would remember yours?

Turns out that there are simple tricks that can be employed to make your pitch stand out. Lets look at just three that will do the trick:

Develop Rapport

This is the most potent requirement of sales training and customer service training. Remember that part about ‘doing your homework on the customer’? Well this is the time to showcase what you’ve learnt about them. Asking questions about the company, their portfolio of products and services will show the customer that you’re interested enough in them to have actually looked them up and done some research. Comments and conversations on similar and related topics that are relative to their company and business also creates plenty of common ground upon which to develop equity or rapport.’Five Strategies for a Winning Sales Presentation’  is an article to help you effectively clinch the deal.

Asking Leading Questions

This line of questioning is quite different from the earlier questions about the company itself. While those were posed to establish common ground, this line of questioning is more to ‘fish’ for information – on your customer’s interests, needs, likes and dislikes. While this gives you insight into the customer’s head, it is also setting up a foundation for you to build your sales pitch on and possibly answer or provide for everything your customer expressed a desire or need.

Eliminate Objections

While it may be normal to feel that the customer is not interested in yet another sales pitch, the reality of the matter is that he actually has some reservations or ‘practical hurdles’ in his head that he thinks you probably are not going to be able to address. Getting to the root of this is crucial to pushing them over the edge from a merely introspective mood to a generally interested mood. Listening carefully to the concerns can pave the way for cutting right to the issue and asking questions like, “Is it the shipping costs that you’re concerned about?” or “Are you anxious about the profit margins for the service?”. Doing this helps to put your finger directly on the pulse of the customer’s needs and better equipping you to be able to help them. This tactic is fundamental to sales coaching.

For more information on Sales Training Programs, please refer to the following articles/blogs:

Tips to Enhance Retail Selling Skills 

Selling Skills – Achieving Excellence through Training

Giving Your Presentations The X Factor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 Steps to Efficient Negotiation

Most people have it within themselves to try to get a good deal. And almost every such person call on their negotiation skills to get what they want. While negotiating is not possible in most retail situations, certain types of businesses do allow the flexibility to haggle over the price. Effective negotiations can be highly useful in situations like this. But is there a trick to negotiating? Is it a science or an art? Or does it completely have to do with force of personality and/or charisma? The truth of the matter is it is ALL of the above. There is a science to negotiations but it is also an art that requires careful wielding. And a certain amount of personality certainly helps. In this article we will look at some simple aspects of effective negotiation skills

Negotiation Skills Training   is an important program for companies to invest in, especially toward those employees whose jobs require them to negotiate deals and transactions with other corporate parties

  • Depending on the personality of the parties involved, one must determine what kind of negotiating style needs to be adopted. Sometimes rational reasons can be debated for the sake of getting the right deal but other times negotiations can be over nothing but the mere transaction.
  • In most negotiations it is important to evaluate one’s interests for negotiating the deal. What are the contributing factors? What is the one aspect that is the most important in securing this deal? How can we find a middle ground that is advantageous without being a compromise? This is crucial to the negotiation process. If your business strategies often require you to negotiate ,  ‘Six Surprising Negotiation Tactics that get you the best deal’  is an excellent article to help you get ahead on negotiation tactics.
  •  Its important to move the tone of the negotiations from compromise mode to a unified problem solving mode. It takes focus to not go into that kind of troubleshooting mode and instead try to keep the conversation geared toward a win-win situation for both sides involved in the negotiations.

For more information on various Soft Skills Training topics, please refer to these articles/blog:

 The Art of Tactful Business Communication

The Presentation Skills of Apple Inc

Shifting Limiting Mindsets – A Leadership Essential

 

 

 

The Cost of Clarity in Communication

Communication is probably the most important of skill that humans are endowed with and need to improve upon in order to relate with his fellow beings. Communication can be of various forms – oral, written and non-verbal (physical), but all of which serve one purpose – the transmission of ideas and thoughts. Business communications also operate with the same fundamental principle except with the added facet of protocols and socially acceptable dynamics that need to be in place for a more professional form of communication.

Communication Skills Training  is a fundamental part of equipping employees to become great communicators and leaders within their respective organizations.

Within businesses even, communication spans over various forms – emails, faxes, memos, notes, meetings, presentations are all conducted and handed with the express purpose of communication. Whatever the medium may be, there are some key elements to communication that are fundamental to the proper transmission of ideas. In this article we will focus on just one of these aspects – Clarity. This is probably the most important aspect for effective communication in business. ‘8 Ways to Improve your Communication Right Now’  tells you how stepwise which  is easy to comprehend.

Whether one is writing an email or giving a presentation, the ultimate objective is to convey a message that is persuasive to the person on the receiving end of the message. This is the most effective of communication techniques. But this will not happen if the message is not clear in the first place. The onus is on the presenter or sender of the message to be clear in his or her transmission of the agenda. Ideas must be defined and extrapolated for clarity and presented in a simple and easy to understand manner. Vague or ambiguous words that may skew or distract from the core of the message must be avoided for the communication to be effective. When beginning an email or a lecture, begin with a clear and well-defined purpose. If you as the presenter do not know where you’re going with the correspondence, there is no way that the receiver is going to know where you’re going either. This is the key to improving communication.

Minimizing the body of the communication to its most core ideas or purpose keeps the correspondence lean and avoids any unnecessary language or ‘fluff’ that distracts from the main idea or objective of the message. This is the key to good communication skill.

For more information on Communication Skills Training, please refer to the following articles:

The Art of Tactful Business Communication 

Communication – A Leader’s Trump Card 

 10 Tips for Effective Workplace Communication

 

 

 

 

3 Tips To Preparing For A Good Presentation

There are numerous books and resources on ‘How to give a presentation’ and mastering effective presentation skills. While these are extremely good and useful, there are numerous things that a speaker can do ahead of his or her presentation that will help tremendously in setting them up for success in giving a good presentation. In this blog we will look at some vital preparatory work that needs to be done to pull off an effective presentation.

 Presentation Skills Training  is an important aspect of corporate function that deals with equipping their employees with the right skills sets to be good and engaging communicators. Below are some techniques used by organisations for effective presentations:

Holding Attention

It is important to remember that getting the audience’s attention right at the beginning of the presentation is a vital aspect to sustaining their attention. Most people within the first 30 seconds of a speech have already subconsciously decided whether they’re going to enjoy what the speaker has to say or not based on his or her opening statements, enthusiasm, conviction, voice modulation and body language. When preparing your notes, make sure to start with an engaging story, illustration or anecdote to grab their attention. Starting with a ‘bang’ is always the best way to start.

 Clarity

Most audiences want to know what they’re getting into or what to expect at the beginning of a speech or presentation. Indulge them accordingly. Prepare notes that clearly outline the objective, highlights, vision and summary of the presentation so the audience knows what to expect. Dragging on endlessly into a body of unending monotone lecture is a sure way to lose your audience. Keep it simple, clear and to the point. ‘Captivate Audiences with Powerful Presentations’  is an article which will help you have your audience enthralled.

 Visual Aids

People tend to think in pictures or images. It is an intuitive action that happens almost subconsciously within the mind of the listener. A good presenter must tap into that. Telling them that the annual revenues ‘far exceeded’ that of the competition is not as effective as showing them a strikingly visual and colorful graph or chart that depicts the scenario. Visual aids go a long ways in emphasizing or enhancing the poignancy of the message or fact that is being conveyed in the presentation.

For more information on Presentation Skills Training, please refer to the following link:

How Effective are your Presentation Skills? 

Presentation Training – A Key Component of Corporate Coaching

 

 

 

The Science of Non-Verbal Communication

I’ve been in a few meetings where I perceived very clearly that it wasn’t going well. The person I’m talking to is looking at me and even has a slight smile on their face. Shouldn’t that be sufficient evidence that I have their attention and they’re interested in what I have to say? Not really. While I might not have been an expert in communication skills, there were subconscious signals this person was sending me that told me they were not really engaged in this conversation even though it looked like they were. They were facially expressing that they were but their other gestures screamed otherwise.

So why is non-verbal communication important? Lets examine why: The Science of Non-Verbal Communication

Eye Contact: Even though this person was looking at me, I could tell he was distracted because his eyes were darting around and glancing at other people behind me. Eye contact is probably the most crucial aspect of non-verbal communication techniques. When we hold eye contact with the person we are talking or listening to, we communicate that we are genuinely interested in what they have to say.  

Open Posture: This person also had their arms crossed over and seemed rather rigid. He was also tapping his foot sporadically as if he was itching to go somewhere. This is usually an indication that they are not really open to what I have to say and could be perceived as disagreement, disinterest and/or impatience. It is vitally important to maintain an ‘open posture’ (free arms/open chest/open palms) while talking to people to show that they have our attention and we are interested in listening even if we don’t necessarily agree with the content.  

Facial Expression: When someone is disinterested in what is being said his or her expression usually tends to give it away. A smile could be forced but most of us can usually tell when that is the case. While listening to someone it is helpful to nod as they speak to show them that you acknowledge what they’re saying and respond emotionally according to the content (smile at something good or show more seriousness at something sober). Nothing displays disinterest than an impassive and emotionless expression. Communication Skills Training is an important aspect of equipping people with the right tools to be effective communicators in the workplace. For more information on how this is done, please refer to the following link: http://www.inc.com/articles/2000/03/18145.html

Below are some of our recent blogs on Communication Skills:

Ted Talks and The Art of Public Speaking

What Can Aladdin’s Genie Teach you on Communication Skills?  

 

What Can Aladdin’s Genie Teach you on Communication Skills?

Even as the world mourns the death of Robin Williams, I couldn’t help but think of my most favorite rendition of his – playing the Genie in Disney’s ‘Aladdin’. Genie’s introduction and intro song is sheer animation brilliance wrapped in vintage Williams. The bravado performance begins with a flashy song full of fire-works, multiple manifestations of Genie himself and colorful dancers. But it is more than just visual stimulation – along the way, Genie tells Aladdin that he is the boss, everything that Genie can do for him and simply how life can just change for the better for Aladdin. Well all this is nice and cartoony! But what in the name of ‘flying carpets’ does this have to do with Business Communication?

What Can Aladdin’s Genie Teach you on Communication Skills?

Like every other form of communication, effective communication skills lies in not simply transmitting information but in doing so in a persuasive manner. While some people resort to the KISS formula (Keep It Simple, Stupid), it sometimes pays to pull out all the stops and just go over the top to make a good impression. At the heart of this communication technique lies the intuitive knowledge that humans are emotional creatures and we often associate the memory of a product or service, not with the details or specs but with the emotions that we felt about it at the time. So what does this look like?

First Impression – Just like the Genie, we want a mind-blowing opener as a communication strategy. Anything that will grab the listener’s attention by the eye-balls! Colorful themes, special seating and theme music can all make for a memorable walk-in experience. Audiences are feeling good and looking forward to it before the show has even begun!

Know your audience – Genie knew that he had to dazzle in order to get the attention of an ordinary street boy like Aladdin. Customize your communication according to the caliber of the audience. Putting up a presentation for the advertising team will look entirely different from putting one up for the CEO and board of directors.

The human element – Genie, although a spiritual entity, appealed to everything human in order to attract Aladdin. At the end of the day, it is you giving the presentation and not your slideshow. Look confident, speak up and smiling alone will give you an edge that will carry you part of the way through your presentation. Communicating your idea powerfully and with clarity is more than sufficient to close the deal. This is communication skills 101.

For information on Communication Skill Training for companies, please refer to the following article – Why Communication Skills are the Epitome of Human Progress

Why Communication Skills are the Epitome of Human Progress

Why Communication Skills are the Epitome of Human Progress

Good communication skill does not just mean the ability to be understood, it means more than that. Effective communication skills can help humans convey their emotions that may be hard to discuss.

Since the beginning of time, what has set humans apart from animals has been our cognitive faculties and the depth of our Communication Skill. Like animals we too have the basic senses but we have something extra – self-awareness. And not only do we have self-awareness but we have always been able to communicate that when needed. Modern commercials and advertisements pick up on this subconscious ability and play to its strengths. All one has to do is watch a commercial of Calvin Klein (CK) or Apple. In the CK commercial you will immediately notice that the product itself is almost never shown. Instead they sell you a ‘mood’, ‘attitude’ or a ‘personality’. CK understood intuitively that often what a product makes you feel or think is more powerful than the immediate image of the product itself. The subconscious feeling one gets when watching a CK commercial is not even centered around the product but instead about feeling, ‘adventurous’, ‘sexy’ or ‘dominant’. Similarly Apple commercials rarely drone the watcher with close-ups and technical specs of their products. Instead they show you a montage of clips of how diversely their products touch people’s lives. From a five year old in a classroom to a seventy year old at home, from the medical labs of Harvard to a cottage in rural China, Apple commercials show how their products bring joy to people all over the world. They’re not selling you a product, they’re selling you a ‘life-style’. This is how to communicate effectively!

Even in the corporate world, communication skills are the brain, heart and blood of a company all at the same time. From casting the vision, to formulating a game plan, to planning a methodology all the way to the execution and gauging of the process, it is communication that drives the entire corporate engine. The corporate world is now looking at helping its employees in the process of ‘how to develop communication skills.’ All types of communication skills intuitively take into account the following:

• Clarity of Objective – No one wants to hear a muddled message. Yet most communicators fall into the trap of getting lost in ‘their’ story. Good communicators usually ensure their presentations, conversations and e-mails have single themes. They keep their meetings to the point and ensure that their communication follows Stephen Coveys principle of ‘beginning with the end in mind’.

• Practical Impact – Often in an official presentation, it is assumed that merely presenting the data and numbers will tell the story for itself. But actually, showing how those numbers have real-time effects on the company and consequentially on an employee will have a more personal and powerful effect on the listener.

• Vivid Expression – With the advent of media and graphics in presentations, the effects of decisions made can be shown in a more graphically intuitive manner that gives the listener a sense of realness. For example, showing how the net profit can blow past the previous years’ profits by implementing the current plan of action using graphics and animation can be more effective than just showing the adjusted figures.

Communication Skills Training is an important facet of corporate operations and management.It is the only medium that serves as the nerve center for the healthy exchange of ideas and feedback between the management and employees and even amongst themselves. Even Fortune 500 companies constantly work on improving this facet: Read related article in Forbes.com

For more information on Communication Skills Training, refer to this article: Is Communication Skills A Part of Soft Skills Training

Essentials for Effective Communication

Essential for Effective Communication

Watson Wyatt, a leading worldwide human consulting firm, did a study to understand the impact of effective communication in companies. The study was done over a five-year period (mid-2004 to mid-2009) and the study shows that shareholders got a 47% higher return from companies that communicate effectively.

“Effective communication helps engage employees, and that has positive implications for productivity and the bottom line,” said Kathryn Yates, global leader of communication consulting at Watson Wyatt.

This survey found that companies scoring high on communication parameters, are good in 3 areas – courage to continuously address employee concerns, innovatively adjust employment deals to match market conditions and measure progress with stringent discipline.

Courage, Innovation, Discipline – Watson Wyatt has identified these, in the study, to be essentials for efficient communication. Let us look at how these values are relevant to communication.

  • Courage: Watson Wyatt defines it as “telling it like it is.”

“Communication is truth; communication is happiness. To share is our duty; to go down boldly and bring to light those hidden thoughts which are the most diseased; to conceal nothing; to pretend nothing; if we are ignorant to say so; if we love our friends to let them know it.”
― Virginia Woolf, The Common Reader

We often try to shield people from bad news. This creates a layer of deception and hampers trust. The best way to build trust and relationships is to state the facts without diluting it. As many studies have found out, the top most reason why people leave their jobs is not because of dissatisfaction with their pay but because of their relationship with their bosses. Bad news hurts at first but it is the reality and facing these situations in a healthy fashion is what creates maturity.

  • Innovation: Creating a favorable environment for people to be innovative is the responsibility of an organization.

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”
― Peter F. Drucker

Organizations need to be comfortable suspending what they are used to and foray into unknown territories, thus encouraging their employees to do the same. Innovation should not be restricted to products but should extend to every aspect of the business. Continuously communicating in the abstract space of possibilities to employees sets a precedent of a mindset of innovation.

  • Discipline: Wyatt stresses the importance of the need to set directions, take stock of the movement on a regular basis and, most importantly, communicating all this to the employees on a regular basis. This will serve as the rudder on a ship – providing direction and causing the employees to adjust course. With the fast changing marketplace the need to have heightened awareness is very high. Email blasts from the CEO, town hall meetings, blogs and video messages from key people on significant topics relevant to the employees can all serve to enhance the comfort level of the employees, as they will, at all times, know the performance of the organization.

As an engine is to a train, so is communication to an organization. The power and efficiency of an engine dictates the direction of the train. Hence, the emphasis paid to communication should play a significant role in any organization.

Today most organizations provide communication training to help their leaders and managers communicate with employees. However, only 3 out of 10 companies are training managers to deal openly with resistance to change. In the same Watson Wyatt study it was identified that highly effective communicators are more than 3 times as likely to handle resistance to change openly than the least effective communicators.

We at MMM Training Solutions provide customized communication training to all levels of management. Our ability to target the issues specific to each organization contributes greatly to the success of our program.