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It’s Time to Re-evaluate How We Communicate

Speak the language of leadership

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BY Pauline Mendoza - 16 May 2018

It’s Time to Re-evaluate How We Communicate

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

“The art of communication is the language of leadership.” —James Humes

There’s power in our choice of words, yet it is often underestimated. In the seemingly endless string of tasks to deal with in the workplace, how often do we take time to re-evaluate what we say even in the most mundane conversations?

Changing a word makes a lot of difference

Take this example from an Inc. story by Jeff Haden. He writes that some people choose to say, "I had to go to a meeting" instead of saying, “I got to meet with some great people." Some people also say, "I have to interview some candidates for a job," instead of saying "I get to select a great person to join our team."

“Do you want to be around people who have to do certain things...or who want to do certain things?” he asks, emphasizing that replacing even one word in sentences gives a different meaning to it and makes conversations better.

“Keep in mind that choosing the right words also affects how you feel. Don't say, ‘I have to go to the gym.’ Say, ‘I want to go to the gym.’ In time, you'll believe it. You'll look forward to it,” he adds.

During a meeting, a music director once told me (together with other leaders of the organization I worked with) that it is important to use the word “We” instead of “I” in most situations. Changing this one word can impact how people view leaders and others they work with. Using “we” instead of “I” fosters collaboration and inclusivity. “We can do this” sounds better than “I can do this,” right?

Communicating better

Business magnate Warren Buffett, told a Stanford MBA student: “At your age the best way you can improve yourself is to learn to communicate better. Your results in life will be magnified if you can communicate them better. The only diploma I hang in my office is the communications diploma I got from Dale Carnegie in 1952.” Then he added, “Without good communication skills you won't be able to convince people to follow you even though you see over the mountain and they don't.”

Richard Branson, writes in his blog, “Communication makes the world go round. It facilitates human connections, and allows us to learn, grow and progress.”

He shares that communicating better is what drives the success of his businesses. “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess.”

So time to brush up on your communication skills.

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