It’s Not What You Say—But How You Say It

In a recent client leadership session, 100% of leaders acknowledged that it's not just what you say, but how you say it!

Talent Curve / Leathers Milligan has been helping leaders with communications for decades. In a recent training engagement, every single leader present acknowledged that it wasn’t necessarily what you say—but how you say it, that matters. So, why does it matter?

One common mistake in communication is passing the blame to the other party if they don’t fully understand what you mean. It’s not their fault they don’t understand you—it’s your fault. Whether it is a peer, your subordinates, prospective hires, vendors, partners or other leaders—if they don’t get it—it’s your fault. Now that we have established that, let’s get back to why it matters. Consider the time and cost of lost productivity when communication problems arise. Many of you are familiar with the costs of a bad hire, but what if that is compounded by 1,000. One bad hire is bad enough, but what does it do to an organization’s productivity, morale, and culture when the problem scales? It’s big, and that IS a big problem—and that’s why it matters.

So how do we address this communication issue? How can we safeguard ourselves and our organizations from miscommunications?

• Remember that not everyone communicates like you – we all have our own communication preferences.

• Adding a recap and providing an opportunity for questions can help enhance your connection with others.

• Touching on the different communication preferences (analytical, methodical, visionary, and connectedness) may alleviate miscommunications.

• Pay attention to your electronic communication to ensure it is sending the correct message. Electronic communication may be easily misinterpreted because the tone, body language, and inflection can’t be determined by the recipient.

Don’t let your good people down, don’t blow the good culture you have worked so hard to get—and remember that not everyone communicates like you. It’s not what you say…but how you say it.

If you want to learn more about the executive leadership training at Talent Curve / Leathers Milligan—visit us online at Talent Curve / Leathers Milligan is an Inc. 500, woman-owned small business with offices in Washington DC, North Carolina, and Arizona.