Want to communicate better? Observe and listen!

Shhhhh…. Listen (or in this case read further 😉)

In my previous article and posts, I gave several tips on what to do to become a great communicator (if you missed any of them, you can go to the blogs on my website under Blogs/Communication).

 

However, did you know that to be a great communicator you also need to NOT talk, but observe and listen?🤔

Yes, I repeat: to be a great communicator, you need to stop talking and start listening and observing your audience or counterpart(s).

 

Why?

 

Because when you stop and listen to your counterpart(s), especially if they are not native English, you give them the opportunity to:

  • Absorb or digest the information they have just received
  • Ask you questions
  • Provide you some feedback or some new insights
  • Teach you something new

When you stop and observe, you are able to notice whether your audience is motivated or bored, understanding or confused, ready to listen to more or impatient. Even a short pause will stop your audience from daydreaming and will bring them back into active listening. Once you have noticed how your audience feels, you can then adjust your message to keep your audience engaged till the end. 

 

The best leaders are excellent communicators, They know they do not know everything. They are willing to learn to continuously improve. That is one of the reasons why they always listen to their audience.

 

Remember: there is a good reason why we have 2 ears, 2 eyes and only 1 mouth! 😀

 

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say” – Bryant H. McGill – 

 

👉 Contact me for help on multicultural leadership, communication, diversity or team performance! 

 

#vlvcoach #leadership #communication #publicspeaking #toastmasters

 

This post was also posted on Linkedin  and https://coachinghub.us/blog/ 

 

Pay attention to cultural references

When we use some cultural references, we always have to be mindful of who we are talking to… Especially nowaday, in a world that is getting smaller and smaller, we often communicate with people who are not originally from the country where we come from. 

 

When you want to convey something, 

Whether it’s by doing a speech, delivering a presentation or just having a conversation,

Make sure that you do not use cultural references that only people from your own country would know and understand

Whether you want to use literary, historical, religious references, or…

If you want to talk about the cartoons you were watching in your youth

Or a TV program

Or a ‘famous’ person or place…

Always check that your counterparts are familiar with the reference if you want them to engage.

 

Even when you speak to someone who is English native. 

What may be familiar for you in the US for instance may not be something known in the UK (or vice-versa). 

 

If you use cultural references that are not known globally, you will lose your audience. People will keep wondering what you meant, what they are missing… and will feel left out.

 

And if you intended to make a joke, the joke will be on you if you do not provide additional explanations.

 Like I wrote in one of my recent posts, think about your audience! 

Be mindful and do not assume that everybody knows what you’re referring to. 

 

This post has also been shared on coachinghub.us and on  Linkedin.

#vlvcoach #communication #diversity #culturaldifferences

 

Start with your audience!

Start with your audience! 

Whether you need to present something verbally or send an email, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you providing an update to your team members?
  • Do you need to present something to your leadership team?
  • Is your audience new to your industry or organization?
  • Are all participants native English speakers? 
  • Are people experts in their field? 

When you communicate something, always think of who is your audience. 

 

Whatever the situation, make sure you always use words, expressions or abbreviations that everyone can understand. Never make assumptions. Never think ‘everybody knows’.

 

When you know your subject, it’s easy to use ‘technical jargon’. However you can easily lose your audience if you are not mindful about the words and expressions you use.

 

If you use abbreviations, spell them out, especially if people are new. What is obvious to you may not necessarily be obvious for someone else. 

 

Remember: if you want to be a powerful communicator, it’s not about you.

It’s about your audience and what’s in it for them. 

 

#vlvcoach #communication #leadership

 

This post was also posted on Linkedin and Coachinghub.us.

 

Be succinct!

I often found myself in a situation, 

Where I was in a meeting

Or reading a mail

And thinking:

‘What is the point he/she is trying to make?’

 

The person kept talking and talking, beating about the bush,

Or repeating the same thing over and over again in a different way

 

➡️ If you want to communicate effectively

 

‼️ Be succinct ‼️  

 

You may have to provide some background information, 

But make sure you get to the point

As soon as possible

 

And to follow my own rules, I’ll stop here 😉 😊

 

Do you agree?

#vlvcoach #communication #leadership

 

This post is also shared on Linkedin as well as on coachinghub.us.

It takes two to salsa

Dancing salsa and effective communication… What do the two have to do with each other? 

 

A few weeks ago, I posted an article on how to communicate effectively and provided general tips.

And a few days ago, I wrote a post on Linkedin about dancing salsa, taking a break and recharging my batteries…

 

So again, what do dancing and communication have to do with each other?

Well…

 

When you dance, you also communicate. You do not talk while dancing but you have to be clear in your communication.

 

You have to indicate to your dance partner what she is supposed to do. Does she need to:

  • Turn once, twice or more?
  • Turn right or left?
  • Dance more slowly or quicker?

 

This means you cannot hesitate. You need to be clear in how you communicate this information.

 

The same goes with verbal or written communication. You need to take your audience into account:

 

  • Are you trying to provide an update? 
  • Are you trying to share a story & convey a message?
  • Do you need some information?

 

Whatever message you’re trying to share, you have to be as clear as possible so that there is no confusion. People have to know what your values are,  what is important for you, what you stand for.

 

When you communicate things clearly, your audience will react as expected. If not, you may receive lots of questions  and will have to clarify your message.

 

I like the expression ‘It takes 2 to tango’. To me, it says it all. It’s about what one person does or say, and how the other person reacts. Action <-> reaction. If the first person has not been clear in his/her message, the second person will be confused, or will react in a strange way. Or will ask questions to really understand the point the first person is trying to make. 

So yes, it does take two to tango!

In my case, I say ‘It takes 2 to salsa!’ 😉😊

#vlvcoach #communication #leadership #dancing

 

Verbal or written communication?

Verbal or written communication?

A few days ago, I published an article on communication. In there, I provided a few general tips on how to communicate effectively (https://vlv.coach/how-to-communicate-effectively-and-be-a-true-global-leader/)

Today, I want to go a bit deeper. To communicate effectively, you need to ensure you are using the right ‘media’. We sometimes think it’s easier to just send an email but it is definitely not always the case. 

Which type of communication should I use?

Are you hesitating between sending an email or having a call or a meeting (whether it is a one-on-one meeting, a team meeting or a meeting with your stakeholders)? Then you have to assess the best way to communicate something. Because it all depends on the situation.

 

If you have to provide some constructive feedback to someone or give them important news that impacts them (such as informing them about some reorganization), have a one-on-one, ideally face-to-face or via video.

People should never get a surprise via mail or in a team meeting.

 

If you need to provide an update or discuss complex issues, have a team meeting or a conference call so that you can provide details and so that people can ask questions.

 

If you need a decision from your senior leaders, ask for a meeting with your leadership team so that you can outline your project/idea, answer questions & hopefully get the green light.

 

From my experience, emails should be kept to:

  • Inform someone in advance about the topics you’d like to talk about in a meeting
  • Summarize / confirm what has been discussed in a meeting with the most important points
  • Send some documents to review/read
  • Give some general information

 

What else would you add?

 

This article has also been published on Linkedin and Coachinghub.us

Note: Picture from vacancycenter.com

#vlvcoach #communication #leaders #leadership

 

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Leadership Brand: How to build one

 

We all have heard about a ‘leadership brand’. But what is it exactly?
According to Norm Smallwood, a recognized authority in developing businesses and their leaders to deliver results and increase value, a leadership brand conveys your identity and distinctiveness as a leader.

It’s a powerful idea or opinion that comes to mind when people think of you.

When we think about people such as Oprah Winfrey, Steve Job or Gandhi, we all have specific words tthat pop up in our head to describe them…. Some words are very positive, some others not so much. However, nobody can deny that these three people are (or were) leaders in their own area…

Things to take into consideration to build a strong leadership brand

To build a strong brand, like these people did, you need to take a few things into consideration. Remember to do the following:

  • Be consistent: you need to keep repeating your message, so that people know your values and what you stand for. They should all be clear of what you represent.
  • Be clear: you need to communicate clearly so that there is no confusion or misunderstanding in your message
  • Building your personal leadership brand takes time. This is not something that is built in one day. This is not something you just do once. No. This is something that takes weeks, months or years to build so that you are being recognized as an expert and a leader in your field.

When you have a strong leadership brand, people will trust you more. You then can inspire, motivate and/or influence others.

However, do not take it for granted! It takes time to build but it can be gone within a few days/weeks!

👉 Contact me for help on multicultural leadership, communication, diversity, team performance!

#vlvcoach #leadership #leadershipbrand #personaldevelopment #communication

This article was also published on Linkedin.

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How to communicate effectively and be a true global leader

The definition of communication is: exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium.

We constantly exchange information and yet, communication is one of the most challenging area of our lives… Great leaders know how important it is to communicate the right way. That is why they are very often great communicators.

Whether we talk to our manager during a 1-on-1 meeting or are being interviewed for a job; whether we are trying to sell something to a customer or provide a project update to our stakeholders; whether we write a message to our spouse, friends or present in front of an audience, we all communicate with each other.

Communication is also present everywhere in our daily life. We are constantly bombarded with information on TV, newspapers, radio, podcast, etc.

Many conflicts are due to (poor) communication

But… Have you ever noticed that many conflicts we have are due to (poor) communication?

We all have been in one of these situations:

  • We said something and our counterpart got angry because what we said did not come across as we intended.
  • We were too direct asking/saying something to one of our team members and they took it personally.
  • We were trying to explain a problem and the other person was not listening. Or we were the one not listening.
  • Because we use English as the main business language in a multi-cultural world, we used a word or expression and our counterpart misunderstood because English is not their native language.

Whatever it is, communication can go wrong in so many ways.

The good news is that there are a lot of things we can do to improve communication.

Tips to improve communication

When you want to make sure your counterpart really understands what you’re trying to communicate, take a step back. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I communicating what I want to say the right way?
  • Am I using the right media?
  • Am I clear enough?
  • Am I succinct enough?
  • Am I using words or expressions that my counterpart can understand?
  • Am I making assumptions in my counterpart’s knowledge?
  • Am I giving enough time/space for the other person to react and/or ask questions?
  • Have I tried to make a joke and it was not understood?

One of the best ways to improve your personal and professional relationships is to communicate properly and effectively.

Tony Robbins said it:

‘To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others’ .

In the following weeks, I’ll be providing more details on what you can do to effectively communicate with international audiences. Stay tuned!

 

Humor in international environments…

Humor is a tricky thing.

You have to be very careful when you use it, especially when dealing with an international environment.

I remember an instance when one of my former bosses, also French, tried to make a joke in a conference call.

We were waiting for all participants to join

He started to tell a joke,

And when the ‘punch line’ came

There was a BIG blank

Everybody was silent

I was the only one who understood the joke

So, when you want to use humor in an international environment, follow these 3 tips:

✅ Make sure you have had a first professional contact with your audience so that people know you a bit

✅ Make fun of yourself

✅ Use the correct expressions (i.e. do NOT translate literally) as the joke may be on you!

Remember to be very mindful and genuine when you use humor when dealing with other cultures or nationalities.

When used correctly, humor is one of the greatest things that can help you build rapport,  improve your relationships and better communicate with people.

#vlvcoach #leadership #communication #diversity

Be careful of assumptions…

I want to talk about assumptions and how we, consciously or unconsciously, make lots of them…

A few weeks ago, I was talking to a coach and was telling him I had started to help expats and young professionals working in international organizations optimize their potential. His first question was: what is an expat? I must say I was really surprised, not so much by his question, but more by the fact that something that was so obvious to me was not so obvious for him and therefore also not obvious for other people.

I told him that an expatriate (or expat) is a person who resides temporarily or permanently in a country other than their native country.

So I started to wonder: how often do we say things we assume others understand?

My tip to you, especially if you work with an international audience:

Make sure you use simple words, known expressions.

And if you use abbreviations, make sure you spell them out so that there is no confusion and so that it is clear to everybody.

That way, you may teach something new to someone, but you’ll also ensure everybody understands your message.