3 Communication Traits You Need to Have

March 30, 2016

What communication skills do great leaders tend to have – and how can you possess them too? Forbes.com recently highlighted several communication skills that make “good leaders great,” including:

1. They listen carefully.

The skill of listening can be a powerful one, particularly in our tech-obsessed society where everyone is seemingly glued to a tech device. “While electronic communications make long-distance interaction easier than ever before, it has unfortunately hindered our ability to really listen during an information-rich conversation,” writes Forbes columnist Steve Olenski. “This is unfortunate, because skillful listening enables you to catch details that others miss. Many epiphanies and business solutions have been reached thanks to a good listener’s ability to pick up on a hidden gem.”

Try it: To improve your listening, practice empathetic listening, Olenski suggests. When the other person gets excited, share their excitement; when they get concerned, share their concern. “Reflect the other person’s emotions not only verbally, but also with your facial expressions,” Olenski recommends.  

2. Their verbal communication is clear.

Speak clearly whenever possible. “Don’t use words that aren’t understood by most people,” Olenski notes. “Not only will your message be lost, but you’ll run the risk of sounding arrogant.”

Try it: Prepare your conversations in advance as much as possible. Plan out your words and sentences in advance. Consider possible objections from the listener. Also improve your verbal skills by reading more, Olenski suggests. “Whether it’s your favorite business journal, a well-authored blog, or even a sci-fi novel, reading from articulate authors greatly helps your verbal communications,” he notes.

3. They know how to interpret body language.

Successful leaders tend to pay attention to another person’s nonverbal cues during a conversation. “When you’re able to read thoughts and sentiments that aren’t revealed by a person’s words, you have many clear advantages,” Olenski says. For example, you can tune in whether the other person is comfortable with what you’re saying and whether they’re confident about what they’re saying.

Try it: Pay attention to the other person’s movements. Then, once you’ve mastered reading body language, you’ll also be able to try to project more effective body language yourself. Check out these tips.

Source: “Communication Skills That Make Good Leaders,” Forbes.com (March 29, 2016)