Conversation – effective enjoyable conversation – is an art.
Conversation is also an essential business skill.
This is more true today than ever before because of our business lifestyle. The more we use the internet, the more estranged some of us are becoming from our colleagues.
And we are getting busier. Or it feels like it. So, finding time for real conversation slips down the to-do list.
In my view, the value of communicating clearly while building trust and relationships, has increased. The busier we are, the more we should prioritise face to face live communication. And the most efficient way to do all three of these at once (communicating clearly, building trust, building a relationship) is not by writing short emails, but in real face-to-face live conversation with another person or persons.
Humans are social animals – we are designed for conversation.
Face-to-face conversation, which uses all the non-verbal skills, has to be the best quality. We feel the atmosphere, sense frostiness or mellowing, read facial expression and adapt our tone or next words in the right way, in the moment. Second best is phone conversations where nuances add to the meaning of words spoken by means of inflection, pauses and tone.
Written conversation must make do with words alone on the page or screen, aided only by punctuation and the occasional drawing or emoticon. Added to this, there is a time-lag before we receive a response to written communication, and we have no accurate indication as regards the feelings of the other party beyond the words they write.
A simple message for leaders
My message is simple for leaders who want to improve team performance: use conversation as a strategy.
You want to grow your business? Improve the quality of conversations at work. You will build a culture where business, reputation and income can flourish. Improved working relationships will affect work-life balance positively too.
Conversation gives you an opportunity to build trust and co-create. This is true at all levels from leaders to junior staff.
Tip: Don’t make yourself inaccessible. If you refuse meetings, screening yourself by written communication instead, you miss the co-creating opportunity that conversation gives.
Don’t confuse Conversation with Communication
Conversation is much more than communication.
Conversation includes trust, a sense of friendliness, give and take. Communication is often one-way.
Tip: Start practising more, better quality conversations.
Tip: Remember you must listen, and speak.
To find out how to eliminate fear of public speaking, create innovative conversations and solve other Leadership Communication challenges, contact Alison Haill here or by phone on 08165 436791.
Executive Business Coach and Leadership Communication Specialist Alison Haill is Founder and Managing Director of Oxford Professional Consulting. She has a track record of 40 years working with international leaders and professionals, across 4 continents.
Alison’s unique approach combines practical Business Experience, powerful Coaching Processes, Neuroscience and Conversational Intelligence (C-IQ), Linguistics and Cross-Cultural experience.