During the past year of client work, we’ve spent time with professionals from over 25 different countries… busy, ambitious, successful, intelligent professionals. They worked in finance, engineering, marketing, communications, procurement, and all sorts of leadership and management positions. Our client base is certainly a diverse group!
And any time we have an intense period of client work with a global group, it is the best time to test some of our ideas on a global basis, and look for things that are both universal and unique when it comes to great business communication.
And here is one of the most significant lessons (re)learned as another year draws to a close…
Great communication starts with respect.
Respect for your audience, for their time, for their perspective, for your organization, for your colleagues, for everyone and everything. Respect is the common denominator for great communication.
Why, you ask? Because the most important aspects of great communication are all based on the fundamental concept of respect. Great communication requires listening, actively, to what other people say or don’t say. Great communication requires that we care about other people’s perspectives, what will cause them to agree or disagree. Great communication requires that we plan and prepare so that the message is valuable and clear and to the point, so we don’t waste people’s time. Great communication requires that we base our message on value more than just ourselves.
And the common denominator of everything I wrote in the previous paragraph is the fundamental issue of respect. If you don’t respect other people, I can coach you a bit, and make you a better communicator, to a point. You can probably master some of the skills and techniques, and “sound the part.” You can probably fake some of it.
But if your mindset is not based on respect for others, then there is a ceiling you will eventually hit. Because you don’t really care about what others think or want or need. And if you don’t care, there is only so much someone like me can do for you.
I relearn that same lesson all the time, and it is valuable to keep it current and fresh in the mind. Because when you care about someone’s perspective other than your own, you unleash the power of possibility. And then a full toolbox of communication techniques can be fully leveraged.
Good luck, and have a great day!