Choosing your words carefully can make or break your communication. Think back to a time you gave an address to a group, when you walked away from that experience, did you feel good about what you said? Did what you meant to say come through in what you did say? We’ve all been on the receiving end of a speech or an address, but what’s going through our minds when the address is over?

As leaders, choosing our words is of the utmost importance. Either you take control of your message and communicate effectively, or you leave it up to the receiver to work out in their head what you meant to say. That is not a good scenario! You should always be asking yourself if you’re being effective as a leader, as a communicator, and as a colleague?

At this point in your life, you’ve probably become fairly comfortable with your “communication style”, but it’s worth reviewing some of the basic principles of effective communication. Here are some communication basics to keep in mind.

Listen More

  • Learn to listen more than you speak in almost every area of your life. Have you ever been around someone who spoke so rarely that when they did, you paid attention to every word?
  • You don’t know everything. Part of being a good leader is putting yourself last and knowing when to shut up ad listen.

Choose Your Words Carefully

  • Different words mean different things to different people. If you want to be effective, you need to know your people. It’s not enough to think “they should just know”. That’s why you’re a leader!
  • Learn to take full responsibility when there’s a miscommunication, it was your fault, after all.
  • Educate yourself so that you have a toolbox of words that will enable concise and effective communication.

Practice Empathy

  • If you don’t genuinely care about the people you are leading, you need to look in the mirror. You will never realize your true potential as a leader without focusing on serving your people.

I believe this is a lifelong skill that is applicable in every area of your life. Never stop striving to get better, and remember, your words have meaning!

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