by Tim Lawlor
Associate Publisher, Ottawa Construction News
The following article is from Eileen Chadnick of Chadnick Communications and Big Cheese Coaching (bigcheesecoaching.com) in Toronto.
We all have those moments when we have inadvertently said the wrong thing or held back and didn’t say what needed to be said. Sometimes these moments are benign. Other times not so much.
Every word, phrase, interaction – or even silence – can have a profound ripple effect for good, better, or worse.
While honing good communications skills and habits makes good sense for anyone, senior leaders, especially, need to pay greater heed to how they show up in their words, actions and even silences.
While most people have good intentions, it is said that that nine in 10 conversations often miss their mark and create communications mishaps. Be it a misunderstanding; an unintended comment that triggers distrust; or a missed opportunity to build awareness, good will and understanding in a larger landscape – these and other communications pitfalls can have far reaching consequences.
Communications efficacy is a must in the leader’s competency toolbox and not an option.
Here are a few communications blunders leaders from the top should avoid:
1. Winging it. Saying too much; saying too little – both are problematic. While over-scripting will never bring out the best in any leader, it’s important to balance preparation with authenticity. Even the most natural communicators know when it’s time to think through, plan, and prepare their messages and delivery. Winging it as a go-to communications strategy is a first class ticket to casualties in relationships, reputations and business outcomes — ‘he/she said ‘what?!’
2. Viewing communications strictly from the lens of formal marketing activity. Every word said, written, either formally or informally, can have an impact on your reputation and results. Leaders need to equip themselves with strategies and skills for both the formal marketing related opportunities as well as the more informal activities. Whether it be an off the cuff conversation, an email, or an unexpected media call – every conversation counts. Leaders with high levels of ‘conversational intelligence’ are better equipped to handle the complex and unexpected, as well as build trust in relationships, cultures, and ultimately inspire greater results.
3. Making ‘too busy’ the reason for not getting out there enough. No question the rapid fire pace of work today makes it ever more challenging to focus on it all. But communications should never be an add-on once everything else is done. It should be a strategic priority and integrated within the continuum of the leader’s personal development, their work, and the organization’s growth. Waiting for more time is not an option because times of ‘crazy busy’ are here to stay.
You don’t have to be a large company to leverage these strategies. But you do need a plan and the right people to help you leverage opportunities, craft the right messages, and help you bring your best leadership forward in words, voice, and presence.
Start-ups in particular, often miss this senior level communications opportunity as they are often ‘building the plane’ as they go and are in ‘racing mode.’ I say this without judgment. But start-ups have all the more reason to integrate a sound communications plan at the executive level from the get-go (and throughout their company’s evolution).
Ottawa Construction News staff are experts when it comes to construction industry company profiles, backgrounders,
and news and media marketing integration. If we can help you with your communication or branding campaigns, please feel
free to contact Tim Lawlor directly by phone at (613) 699-2057 ext. 110 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.