Vital Communication Skills in the C-suite

Mark Angelo, CEO, Yorkville Advisors

Businesses need strong CEO’s with strong communication skills (or another top leader who does). That’s how important communication is to a leader – as well as everyone up and down the corporate or relationship ladder. And just in case you think you’ve got this in the bag, communication is about so much more than conversation. But it also needs to be remembered that as vital as communication is, it isn’t everything. There comes a time when any good leader has to be able to tell their people to stop talking and get to work. However, let’s talk about the basics of communication that should be mastered and honed often after that.

Vital Communication Skills in the C-suiteLet’s talk about a couple of the skills – there are more, but we’ll talk about three for now — clarity, listening, and approach.

Clarity

Clarity doesn’t mean describing everything to within an inch of its life. But it takes work to be both clear and concise in your statements. The more someone rambles, the more likely it is the listener will lose track of what is being said, get bored or distracted. So being concise is essential with your clarity. If you need to give instructions, think out what you want to say in advance. Plan for what to say and how to do so in the least amount of words. Once you’ve said what you planned, allow those listening to ask any questions. Answer those quickly too.

Listening

Pay attention when others speak. Too often when one person is talking, the other person is thinking through how they can break in and say what they want to say. When that happens, no one gets ahead. You will find it amazing how much people respect and like you when you actually listen to what they say and then respond appropriately. It is actually quite rare, but when you do it, you’ll waste a lot less time and understand everything happening with your people a lot better and faster.

As you listen, feel free to ask questions of the person, rephrase what you hear to make sure it is accurate, and only after they have finished making their thoughts clear can you give your opinion or thoughts beyond your clarifying questions.

Approach

Your approach is a broader concept, it has to do with how you are when you talk with others. Are you distant or friendly, are you confident or a cocky jerk? It also includes your attitude toward what the other person says. Can you empathize with what they are telling you about and be non-judgmental in the process? Whether you agree or strongly disagree with what is said, do you still make certain the person knows you respect them?

Notice how others respond to you in a conversation. If they are closed off or angry, it may be because your approach needs some serious work. If they are so chatty that you have a hard time getting them to stop talking, maybe your approach is really a little too good.

At Yorkville Advisors as we know, now with all of that, you can also look at other types of communication, it’s not always going to be face to face. Communication can also be while on a phone, sending an email or office memo, or even a video chat. Each type will need work on communications skills that will work best for that medium, but listening, clarity, and approach will factor in all of them.

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