None of this related to David Sedaris's subversively funny book about, among other things, learning to speak French, the beauty of which tongue is vastly overrated. We would all, I suppose, like to talk pretty and are awed by those with a fluent command of language in both written and spoken forms.
But to be honest, on the job, we should aspire not so much to be pretty as clear, complete, convincing, and even compelling in our communications.A HUE AND CRY
Communications, in general, gets all the attention it can stand these days. Basta! We get it. Communications is important—with customers, with colleagues, with suppliers, with our bosses. Without rock-solid communications, we can't build trust and confidence; without trust, we can't genuinely collaborate. Without collaboration, we can't realize our own potential or achieve the possibilities that lie at the feet of our enterprise.
But the mavens in the field tend to focus on executives, our bosses, and delight in pointing out what poor communicators leaders are. This could be because that target audience is the one with a corporate checkbook big enough to fund lessons that will transform their communications skills.
Here's some sobering news. We all need to be, or become, good at communications—up, down, sidewise, every which way, and with every conceivable audience. Communications is not some flaw, a gap to be filled in, among leaders. It is part and parcel of what it takes to be a leader in the first place.
So, the principles of effective communications are musts. For leaders, for those ready to move into leadership roles, for those who aspire to leadership roles down the road, and for those who want the respect, support, and enthusiasm of the team around us.WHAT'S HOLDING US BACK AND HOW DO WE FIX IT?
In total, the best start on a litany of communications challenges is to get professional training in all aspects of communications—and practice, practice, practice. The points below deal with more specific issues.
I could, and probably should, go on. Effective communications may seem to be a requirement that can be a set of mechanical processes. But, in fact, those around us, up, down, and all around, live for communications. They thrive on being in on what's going on and where the enterprise intends to go. It is a lifeblood element of loyalty and engagement.
And it is essential to letting people know that they, and their efforts, are appreciated. Everyone needs to know that they are not being taken for granted, that they are not cogs in the machinery, that they have worth, as people and as performers.
Good, authentic, heartfelt, and well-crafted communications are an essential part of the business toolkit, what we use to inspire people to motivate themselves to be the best they can be. Now that's talking pretty.