Clear communication is critical for the busy executive who wants to lead a robust and trailblazing organization. Having average skills won’t do. Being ambivalent about mastering the art of communication can stall projects and have dire consequences. As author Suzanne Bates once noted, “The leader’s job is generally not to do; it is to communicate what is to be done.” When it comes to tech executives, there is often a disconnect with translating their expertise to non-technical people. In this blog, we highlight four verbal communication mistakes that tech professionals make and offer tips for avoiding these missteps.
- Are you really the smartest person in the room?
Unfortunately, because of the niche they inhabit, many in the tech field can feel like the smartest person in the room. This attitude can come across to your audience through body language, word usage, and not taking the time to break down the message. Remember – being smart alone will not grow your business or strengthen your teams. If you cannot communicate well enough to drive action and explain benefits, your knowledge isn’t put to its best use. Learning how to articulate your vision in the least complicated way is the goal.
- Are you using too much technical jargon?
Many non-technical professionals have gone to meetings only to feel the opportunity to increase their knowledge and expertise was squandered by a presenter who spoke over their heads. During the presentation, the presenter began to “speak” to only a select few and neglected everyone else. To increase the odds of making a connection with your audience, your message must be easily understood. Otherwise, for the audience, it may have been a lost opportunity (or worse, a waste of time).
- Not being informative in ways that resonate with your audience.
Sometimes tech executives are so into their message; they miss nonverbal cues. Different people absorb information in different ways. Sometimes this may call for the use of multi-media presentations, printed handouts, or more intentional engagement with listeners based on the type of learner they are. Always pay attention to gauge interest and comprehension. If you are not receiving affirmative head nods or focused looks – they are no longer listening to you. If this is the case, take a to moment ask, “is what I’m saying making sense to you or should I back up and explain in a different way?”
- Length of presentation
If you are making a keynote presentation, timing is important. You want to be able to state the objective, give information, wrap up the crucial points, and have time for questions and answers. There is an old sales adage, “don’t sell it and then buy it back,” that is still at work today. Avoid inundating audiences with information over a long period of time. Stick to giving them only what they need and want to take action.
As you can see, verbal mistakes can impact business relationships and stymy growth.
Today more than ever, what you say takes on greater meaning with social media (where things live forever).
These four mistakes can be boiled down to:
- Not being aware of the attitude you are conveying.
- Not speaking clearly enough to be understood.
- Missing non-verbal cues from your audience.
- Overselling your points to the point your listeners lose interest.
This blog was designed as a self-conversation to better your communication skills. By incorporating these key points, you will be able to master the art of communicating anywhere, anytime. If you need a little help, however, we are here for you at Phenomenal Writing.