Communicate your Strategy

September 9, 2017

organisations that excel in their internal communications also excel in their financial performance.

In fact, the study found that companies with highly effective communication practices have a 19 percent higher market premium, 57 percent higher shareholder returns over five years, and levels of employee engagement 4.5 times higher than their competitors.

As a strong believer in high-quality strategy communication, I am not surprised by these results.

Successful strategy execution depends heavily on a thorough understanding of the strategy by everyone within the organization.

You can’t implement what you don’t understand.

But where the logic is simple, the quality is often lacking..

And even when people say YES to the strategy, they often think NO.  When your employee says ‘YES’ she / he wants to say….

  1. I will make the strategy happen, no matter what
  2. I will work hard (effort ) to implement the strategy
  3. I see the benefits of the strategy and will contribute to the implementation
  4. I don’t see the benefits but don’t want to loose my job
  5. I’m against the strategy, don’t want to implement but I don’t tell it in your face

In short, most companies don’t spend enough time communicating their strategy and when they do, the quality and effectiveness is dubious.

Let’s see how you can be different and communicate your strategy like a pro:

Strategy communication - how to communicate your strategy the best way - 11 tips by Jeroen De Flander

COMMUNICATE YOUR STRATEGY USING THESE PRACTICAL TIPS

To get started, I would like to share with you this joke about communication. I found it on LinkedIn but was not able to track it down to the original author.

A popular speaker said: “The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a beautiful woman who wasn’t my wife!” Audience was shocked. The speaker added: “that woman was my mother!” (Laughter and Applause)

A listener tried it at his home. He said loudly to his wife, “The greatest years of my life were spent in the arms of a very beautiful woman who was not my wife!” Standing there for 20 seconds trying to recall the second half of the joke, he finally said “…and I can’t remember who she was!” and he regained his consciousness in a hospital bed.

Moral: make sure you get the message right. Communicate your strategy like a pro!

Here are 12 simple but effective tips from the book Strategy Execution Heroes to boost your strategy communication skills.

Tip 1: Communicate your strategy, but don’t rush

Don’t use an ad hoc strategy selling approach for your new strategy, however tempting it might be. You gave your new strategy a lot of thought so take your time, take a step back and prepare a thorough, tailor-made strategy communication approach.

Tip 2: Communicate your strategy, but avoid gold-plating

But you don’t want to wait forever either. Don’t delay your strategy communication for the sake of a perfect score. A 95 percent score is fine – as perfect communication doesn’t actually exist.

Tip 3: Assure follow-up communication

Once you start communicating, keep the ball rolling. The follow-up communication is just as important, if not more so, than the launch. Think marketing. People need to hear things several times before it sinks in and becomes relevant.

Tip 4: Build a best-in-class strategy communication plan

As I have already pointed out, communicating a strategy isn’t a one-off event. Successful strategy communication is a collection of consistent, well-planned activities across different channels, delivered by a team of individuals. These activities need orchestration. Make sure you have a professional communication plan covering at least the first six months after the initial communication.

Tip 5: Communicate your strategy: use proven channels

You can communicate through a variety of channels – but using more or new channels doesn’t automatically result in better communication. Your message might be new, but your communication channels needn’t be. Use the medium that has worked effectively in the past – the tried and tested. If, for example, you used team meetings to communicate important messages in the past, do so again. You might want to consider doing something special for the strategy launch, but in general, it’s best to stick to the communication channels everyone knows and trusts.

Tip 6: Communicate your strategy effectively = use simple language

Your strategy might be a complex challenge but your words need to be kept simple. The words: ‘To enhance our competitive position in growth markets and protect us against eroding margins and demand fluctuations, we are going to leverage our new distribution capabilities’ might actually summarize your strategy, but won’t create much excitement.

Tip 7: Involve the communications department – but do not hand over

It’s smart to get a professional to craft your communication – but there is a risk. Your strategy message might come back over-simplified or with a tone of voice slightly off-beat. If you opt for professional support, make sure you stay in the driver’s seat. Keep control of the message and tone of voice.

Tip 8: Inspire your audience

Start with an inspiring vision to capture the imagination. Summarize the vision in an elevator pitch, enabling everyone to rephrase and reproduce it to friends and family. An inspiring vision will create a sense of ownership, commitment and energy among your people.

Tip 9: Internal communication strategy: give your strategy a face!

Research shows that people remember first the form, then the color and finally the text. Just think about the logo for the Olympics. Communicate your strategy effectively by developing a catchy name and logo. It will boost strategy recognition instantly.

Tip 10: The strategy: what’s in it for me?

That’s the main question your audience will have on their minds. More specifically, they will be asking themselves: ‘How will this new strategy influence my job in a positive or negative way?’. Make sure you have an adequate answer. Remember: most strategy presentations don’t score well on this point.

Tip 11: Get your managers on board

Managers are a crucial target group for your strategy communication since they are in the front line, answering questions from concerned employees. They should be your strategy ambassadors, your word-of-mouth generals promoting the new strategy and its implementation. Managers are crucial to the overall communication success and deserve special treatment but, in reality, most organisations don’t even have a structured approach for reaching this target group. General messages in the internal newsletter, an uninspired mass communication or boring presentations in staff meetings, are usually as good as it gets. Make sure you do it differently.

Tip 12: Work on the communication skills of your CEO

Unless you are the CEO, this could be a potentially tricky point. Not everyone is a top communicator with the charisma of Steve Jobs. But you might be amazed at how much communication can be improved by working on style, tone of voice, messaging and delivery. So talk to your CEO and work on perfecting those skills. Remember that even a small improvement at the top makes a big difference at the bottom. And if you find it difficult being the messenger, you can always show him/her this article!

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ESSENTIAL VERBAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS

September 9, 2017
Edmund Leighton (1853–1922) Courtship. Upward and downward communication often has an associated difference in status symbolized here as difference between a worker (the ferryman) and the lady.

There are 12 verbal communication skills that you must learn. One reason is that these are fundamental to your success. Plus, smart employers want these skills in new hires.

6 Interpersonal Verbal Communication Skills

Verbal communication skills are still one of the most vital. it ranks high one what employers want in new hires. It’s also what few invest in. So one has a highly sought skill set that few people develop. Discover what they are.

Smart Use of Questions. Sometimes it’s not the answers that are important, it asking the right questions; and more basically, knowing how to ask the questions.

Switching From One & Two-Way Communication. Discover more about the basic theory, the essential elements of the most common model of interpersonal communication and problems with even this most basic of communication models..

Nonverbal Communication. A great deal of meaning is communicated nonverbally. Paying attention to these cues is important for its often that what’s unsaid is more important that what’s said verbally.

Self-Talk. One of the most important channels is the one that occurs between the Ego and the unconscious. After all, you really are at a tremendous disadvantage if you can’t get the two parts of your mind to cooperate. And that means they must first communicate,

Communication in Relationships. Developing, maintaining and repairing relationships, sounds easy but the communication skills required are subtle. After all, if you don’t like someone or don’t trust someone, communication will be strained if it is possible at all.

Listening. In an extroverted culture, people think that it’s all about monopolizing air time. Despite the fact that people have two ears, we typically don’t use either one. After all, how many times have you heard, “My manager doesn’t listen to me.”

Flawless Interviewing. It is a common ritual used in both business and government. Better get good at it. And you can get good at it if you understand how to take advantage of the bias found in the process. Best learn it.

6 Group & Leadership Communication Skills

Alexander_the_Great_Founding_Alexandria

How you communicate to a group is different than how it’s done with another individual. After all, you will spend a huge amount of your time in group settings: in meetings, conferences, classes, etc.

Group Communication Skills

Cultural Communication. Just when you think you got communication down in one culture, you discover what you know doesn’t work in another. The savvy communicator understands how to adapt their behavior to make take these cultural factors into account.

Group Roles Communication. In group settings, learning what communication roles people play is essential to knowing how to facilitate group process.

Persuasive Presentations. There are a number of different ways to wow an audience. Learn the general methods you should use to learn how to make this type of presentation.

Organizational Communication. A large number of screw-ups in organizational settings are the result of flawed communication. In fact, it’s long been thought that that the first job of any good leader is to set-up a robust system of communication.

Leadership Communication Skills

484px-Gabriel_von_Max_Die_ekstatische_Jungfrau_Katharina_Emmerich

In contrast to the six interpersonal skills, the communication competencies essential to leadership focus more getting someone to change their views.

Persuasive Skills. Can you get buy-in? Do you have the skill to get someone to act in their best interest and say yes? Realizing the most commonly used work in English is no? If you can, you have the verbal skills to persuade.

Providing Verbal FEEDBACK. Feedback is necessary to improve, even though few of us like it. Well, we like positive feedback but not the negative type. But both are necessary for few people change without feedback.

Communication Tips From Some Of The World’s Best

September 9, 2017

I was recently re-reading an old Business Week article entitled The Great Communicators; which outlined some secrets of the worlds greatest business communicators.  Effective communication is skill that we can all learn and polish; it’s about the ability to be persuasive, believable, inspirational, charismatic, authentic and overall magnetic.

We are all drawn to different styles of communicators; however the end result to effective communication is the same, the communicators were able to take us on a journey and make us like it.  It doesn’t matter if you are a: SAHM, Pastor, CEO, Teacher, Politician, Worship Leader, Customer Service Rep., Leader, Coach… we can all learn from effective communicators.  Here are 12 Tips from some of the world’s best business communicators:

  • 1. Jack Welch(Former CEO of General Electric)–  Best communication asset: Simplicity   Tip: Eliminate jargon.
  • 2. Steve Jobs (CEO of Apple)- Best communication asset: Charisma  Tip: Create and articulate a bold vision.
  • 3. Meg Whitman (CEO of Ebay)- Best communication asset: Penchant for listening  Tip: Seek feedback.
  • 4. John Chambers (CEO of Cisco Systems)- Best communication asset: Preparedness  Tip: Review and rehearse your presentation.
  • 5. David Neeleman (CEO of JetBlue Airways)- Best communication asset: Talent for storytelling  Tip: Tell tales that inspire.
  • 6. Howard Schultz (CEO of Starbucks)- Best communication asset: Passion  Tip: Identify and share what you’re passionate about.
  • 7. Suze Orman (Author, TV Host)- Best communication asset: Clarity of expression  Tip: Break down complex information into easy parts.
  • 8. Rudy Giuliani (Former NYC Mayor)- Best communication asset: Ability to make eye contact  Tip: Spend 90% of the time looking at your audience.
  • 9. John Thompson(CEO of Symantec)- Best communication asset: Facileness with optimistic language  Tip: Employ powerful and positive words.
  • 10. Klaus Kleinfeld (CEO of Siemens)- Best communication asset: Ability to reinvent  Tip: Stay fresh, remain current.
  • 11. Larry Ellison (CEO of Oracle)- Best communication asset: Looking like a leader  Tip: Pay attention to what your wardrobe says about you.
  • 12. Richard Branson (CEO of Virgin Group)- Best communication asset: Generosity with praise  Tip: Lavish appropriate praise on employees, customers, and colleagues.

Who are some of your favorite communicators and why?  Do you have any additional tips to add?

communication basics everyone should know

September 9, 2017
You know that saying about not getting a second chance to make a good first impression when you meet someone?

Well, when you’re communicating with someone, especially if it’s electronically or by phone, you get even less slack—particularly when it’s for work. That’s when lost opportunities can have bottom-line consequences.

If you want the prospect to open your email, the client to return your call, or the journalist to read your pitch, you’ve got to communicate impeccably.

Here are some of my favorite basics:

1. Voice mail greeting

Smile when you record it. You don’t want to sound perky, just pleasant. Listen to the difference when you record the message while wearing a happy face—it might surprise you.

2. Email subject line

Never leave it blank. This rudely assumes that whatever you have to say is so important that the recipients will open it anyway. Think of the subject as a headline. Tease the main point there. A short, catchy, specific subject is sure to get a quicker response than the dreaded “following up” or “hi.”

3. Email message body

In a business-related email, leave out the emoticons, especially when the message is being sent to your superiors or more than one person.

4. All communication

Ask or notice if the recipient has a preferred way to be contacted. Some live and breathe through texting. Email is best for others. And others still want calls. Your message will be received more effectively if it comes in on the channel your audience prefers.

5. Phone calls

When on a phone call, be present. It’s obvious—and disrespectful—when callers are distracted and multitasking. If it’s not a good time to talk, just say so, and arrange another time to speak.

6. Conference calls

Thankfully, many conference calls are muted by the moderator or administrator. But if the one you’re on is not muted automatically, do so anyway. It is so annoying to hear someone munching, typing, or snoring (yep, I’ve heard that) on a conference call. Even background noise can be distracting.

7. Conversations in person or on the phone

Allow the other person to finish their sentence. It’s polite and civil, and helps keep conversations that way, too.

8. Interrupting

But if necessary to interject—and sometimes it is—use a trick like: “So allow me to stop you there…” Or, “To clarify, I’d like to ask…” Or, “OK, so to respond to your point…”

9. “I’ll have to get back about that”

No problem. Just make sure to do so. And promptly.

10. Meetings

People (peers and managers) know who’s listening and contributing—and who’s checking their phones. Participate and respect the task at hand.

11. Starting a conversation

Whether popping into someone’s office or calling them on the phone, take a moment to ask if it’s a good time.

12. Written communication

The tone of voice, facial gestures, and other communication clues are absent in a memo or an email. Make sure to use please, thank you, and other signs of manners in written communication. Those soften a tone that, otherwise, can sound colder or harsher than intended.