How do you communicate with your business colleagues?

A strong message for today’s business leaders and managers is to be authentic. Don’t try to mimic somebody else’s leadership style but behave consistently with your own values and develop your own style. Bill George, the former CEO and current professor at Harvard, is a leading exponent of this thinking. His article on “Discovering your Authentic Leadership” identifies self-awareness as one of the key elements in being able to develop your personal authentic leadership style (HBR Article, written with Peter Sims, Andrew N. McLean, David Mayer, Diana Mayer, 01-Feb-2007)

Do you ever stop to think about how you actually communicate with your colleagues and what impact you are having? Have you ever asked a colleague or key stakeholder for feedback on how you communicate and what effect this has on them?

You may be familiar with the work of Albert Mehrabian the Psychology Professor of UCLA. From his studies he concluded two key things. There are three elements in any face-to-face communication. They are words, tone of voice and non-verbal communication or body language. The second thing he concluded was that the tone of voice and body language are particularly powerful  in conveying feelings and attitudes. To achieve a lasting impact, particularly when communicating at an emotional level, these three elements must match. How much time have you reflected recently on your voice tone or body language?  When was the last time you asked another person to observe you and give you feedback on your body language?  

For more details on the work of Albert Mehrabian refer to:

  • Mehrabian, Albert; Wiener, Morton (1967). "Decoding of Inconsistent Communications". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 6 (1): 109–114. doi:10.1037/h0024532. PMID 6032751.
  • Mehrabian, Albert; Ferris, Susan R. (1967). "Inference of Attitudes from Nonverbal Communication in Two Channels". Journal of Consulting Psychology 31 (3): 248–252. doi:10.1037/h0024648.

The way we communicate with others builds the foundation of our relationships.  Have you reflected recently on your relationship with your key stakeholders and colleagues? Do you take it for granted that all is well?  Do you always achieve a satisfactory outcome for both parties even when dealing with challenging situations?  Eric Berne, the Canadian Psychologist, developed a framework from his clinical research in the 1950’s called transactional analysis which helps to decode what he labelled the games people play.  The model talks about transactions between people which are the essence of the relationship. You don’t need to be a psychologist to grasp the value of the model and apply it to your daily professional relationships. It can give you a new insight into some relationships that you may find difficult or troubling, and provide some new practical ideas to get the results needed. (Eric Berne – “The Games People Play – the Psychology of Human Relations” – available on Amazon.)

This seminar enables you to understand better other people in your world, and how you relate to each other.  You will walk away with a more effective plan to avoid the pitfalls which can cause so much disruption to individual and team relationships, which are so important for the success of the business.

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About the Author

Elizabeth Moon Leading International Expert on Effective Communication for Leaders and Executive Coach

Elizabeth Moon

Elizabeth Moon is an international trainer and executive coach based in France but working throughout Europe and on specific assignments in The Middle East, Asia, North America and Australasia.