Improve Communication Skills

Communication is the Key to Success!

Letting others take the lead in discussions when you're the boss is not a sign of insecurity; it can be a sign that you are in control. You are not seeking to impose your will on discussion; you are facilitating alternative points of view. This is essential to establishing the trust necessary to broker agreements between parties who don't agree.

Toward that end, here are some lessons you can follow to keep dialogue flowing.

Open up - If you want to keep discussion going, you should keep talking. If the topic is critical to the future of the company, throw out your calendar. Meet with your colleagues, even those who don't agree with you, until you come to consensus, even if it's only an agreement to keep talking. (Mediators employ this technique to help resolve disputes between adversaries.)

Give (a little) up - The secret to good conversation is give and take. Those who feel the need to impose their will gain little by talking. Those who want to reach consensus learn how to make concessions over small things to gain agreement over major issues. Dialogue is essential to facilitating that process.

Follow up. Important matters are seldom resolved with a single conversation or a single meeting. You will need to meet multiple times. Keep the dialogue going by following up with participants between meetings. The act of simple conversation can lead to greater understanding of issues and people.

With that in mind, don't be afraid to chit chat. Listening to someone you don't know (or may not like) talk about his family or other personal matters can spade the ground for more substantive discussions about serious issues. Following up after a meeting to clarify issues or check for understanding further cements the development of trust.


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