The first step to becoming a global leader will see you speaking in the target language, in most cases this will be English. You need to be at a level of English which is sufficient for some basic – but comfortable and reasonably confident – communication. This will get you onto the next step – “Communication Skills”, and this is what I want to talk about today.
So, what is communication? A quick search brings up this definition, “the imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs”. That’s great, but what are communication skills?
When I think about this question 2 other things spring to mind; one of Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people – “Begin with the End in Mind”, and secondly our own Frame of Reference – I talk more about this in my Tedx talk, about how our values and attitudes shape how we view things and we assume that others see what we see.
When we communicate, we should think about this idea of beginning with the end in mind – the end being the person we are trying to communicate with rather than the message we are trying to communicate. Of course, the process of communicating our message is important but when we don’t think about our audience our frame of reference trips us up.
… when we don’t think about our audience our frame of reference trips us up.
Focusing on our audience will encourage us to switch our communication style so that we can communicate in the best possible way with the different cultures and personalities we encounter. Thinking about our audience will also help us to focus more on listening and reading a given situation. Practicing these techniques will also make us more assertive (more self-assured and confident) – another essential global communication skill.
So, to understand how best to communicate we need to understand that communication is not what we say, it is not what we do, and it is not what the other person hears, … it is what they take away.
Next time you communicate take some time to listen, observe, and shift your style; and … to communicate with the end in mind.