Effective communications is an essential part of any successful enterprise. Why, then, are so many business owners and leaders really bad at it? 40% of professionals wanting to quit their job this year cite the lack of communication and involvement by top management as a contributing factor for their desire to throw in the towel. 31% blame unclear priorities and lack of a corporate vision.
As leaders, our job is to take a concept that’s in our heads and bring it to life through the actions of our people. This requires us to communicate with them either verbally or through written materials. Ideally, we’d simply speak and have our ideas transmitted perfectly effecting the desired result.
And God Said – Speaking Ideas into Existence
It seems impossible to write a month long series on entrepreneurial lessons from Creation without mentioning the phrase, “And God said.”
This familiar refrain of Genesis 1 shows us God speaking into existence His concept – our world. Of course, it wouldn’t have been much of a tale if it wasn’t followed by another refrain, “and it was so.”
Having only been made in His image, we cannot literally speak our concepts into existence. The question for us, as leaders, becomes how can we communicate in such a manner where what we speak filters down to the people who will “make it so” without the message being corrupted in the process?
The Irrevocable Nature of Words
First, you must understand that words have incredible power over how we think and act. Once you fully grasp this concept, you’ll see that, once uttered, they take on an irrevocable nature. It’s like cutting open a down-filled pillow in a hurricane and then trying to gather up all of the feathers. It’s impossible.
Likewise, you can’t unspeak words once they’re said. God tells us that His word will not return to him void – it accomplishes what He pleases (Isa 55:11). Isaac understood this principle when he realized that his son, Jacob, had stolen the blessing of his older brother, Esau (Gen 27:32-38).
Even though Isaac favored Esau, and thought he was speaking the blessing over him, he could not revoke the blessing which he was tricked into giving to Jacob. Like God, our words do not return back to us empty either.
Choose Your Words Wisely
Given the power that words hold combined with their irrevocable nature, it’s imperative that we learn to choose our words wisely.
2Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. 3For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words. – Ecclesiastes 5:2-3
It’s easy to provide our own interference that distorts the message we are trying to convey by using too many words. I, myself, am prone to be verbose and have seen how my message was lost to my people amidst the flurry of my words.
Sometimes, the best form of communication for leaders is simply to say nothing at all. A well thought out response is always better than a flip, uniformed, or hurried one. When a situation requires haste, make sure you follow up promptly to see if more clarity is needed.
Expect Your Words to Bring the Desired Result
If your people are properly briefed, trained, resourced, and supported then believe in them to deliver the results. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that “faith is the substance of things hoped for.” We need to develop that same sense of faith in our people.
We need to be like the centurion, in Matthew 8:5-10, who told Jesus that He only needed to speak the words and his servant would be healed. He understood how to lead people through effective communication. He knew that all he had to do was tell his servants what to do and it would be done.
The Secret to Being an Effective Communicator
Effective communication rarely happens accidentally. It is a skill that leaders must continually practice – usually through trial and error.
The secret to becoming a great communicator and leader is
- understanding the power words carry
- appreciating the irrevocable nature of uttered words
- choosing your words on purpose
- believing that your people will accomplish what you tell them to do
- monitoring and following up with your people
Are you a great communicator, or do you know one? What is it that makes you (them) so effective? Will you share your secrets, or tips, with us?