5 Signs that Your Workplace Communications Aren’t as Influential as You Think

All leaders in a company like to think they have a strong impact on their team. But a staggering 95% of them think they’re much more influential than they actually are. In fact, most business leaders are sabotaging their influence, without even knowing it.

workplace communication

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In many cases, poor or inadequate communication is the culprit.  Here are 5 signs that you may not be as influential on your workforce as you think.

 1. People Don’t Follow Your Lead

 The proof is in your listeners’ action to determine whether or not they’re following your lead. They may not follow you if they don’t act on your recommendations, do the minimum amount of work to get by, make decisions on their own without your input or limit the amount of information they share with you.

Check in for understanding: A message that sounds clear and concise to you doesn’t guarantee your listeners have the same level of clarity.  Ask others whom you can trust to continuously give you feedback to ensure you are leading in a way that influences others to follow.

People follow those they can trust. Be conscious of how your delivery habits impact your message. Is your message consistent with your delivery?

2. Your Listeners Don’t Respond to Your Emails and Texts as Frequently/Quickly as You’d Like

 Your listeners’ response to your email and text messages is based on past experience with you. Are your email messages too long and confusing? Are your text messages one continuous paragraph? If your messages aren’t read, you cannot have influence.

Before you hit “send,” double-check your grammar and spelling. Would you respond to your messages?

When in doubt, hang up the email and pick up the phone to minimize the risk of miscommunication and to save time.

3. You Are the Only One Talking During a Meeting

 Without listener interaction, you have no idea what their needs are, what questions they have and if they agree. Lack of interaction also prevents you from adapting your message on the fly to meet your listeners’ needs and expectations. Communicating a message that only focuses on your needs and expectations will not influence anyone to take action.

At the beginning of a meeting you are facilitating, invite your listeners to interact, explaining to them you want to make sure this conversation is worth their time. Ask open-ended questions to increase interaction. To keep the meeting moving forward and to stay on track, stick with your meeting agenda and speak in short, clear and concise sentences.

4. You Are Frequently Interrupted

 Most people believe they get interrupted because the other person is rude and this is how they behave. More often than not, the blame is on the speaker rather than the interrupter. Your listeners may be interrupting you because you take too long to get to the point, you never pause and/or it is difficult to follow you.

This week, focus on getting to the point while adapting your message to your listeners’ expectations. Pause to listen and give others time to speak. An influential communicator understands that the power of persuasion involves saying less and listening more.

If you still get interrupted, consider this a gift. This may be a friendly reminder to get back on track or adapt your message to your listeners’ expectations.

5. You Typically Run Out of Time Before You’ve Made Your Key Points

 Most individuals run out of time because they don’t adequately plan, prepare and practice. Instead, they ramble and take too long to get to the point. 

A well-crafted message requires key points in getting your listeners to take action. If you run out of time before you can share these with your listeners, they don’t have the critical information they need to be influenced.

Identify your listeners’ needs ahead of time, as well as what is most critical for them to know to take action. Always prepare for 20 percent less than the time you will be given to make sure you respect your listeners’ time.

Stacey HankeStacey Hanke is author of Influence Redefined…Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday®.  She also co-authored Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A To Z to Influence Others to Take Action.

Hanke is founder of Stacey Hanke Inc. She has trained and presented to thousands, helping business leaders get rid of bad body language habits and to choose words wisely – from the financial industry to the health care industry to government and everyone in-between. Her vast client list includes: Coca-Cola, FedEx, Kohl’s, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force, Publicis Media, Nationwide Insurance, U.S. Cellular, Pfizer, General Electric, General Mills, and AbbVie.

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