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How to Communicate Effectively at Work

No one recognises your leadership potential? Here are 11 things that you can do so you can communicate effectively at work.

communicate effectively at work

Today I’ll share 11 ways to communicate effectively at work, but not just that, to communicate in a way that showcases your leadership potential so that you increase gravitas, charisma executive presence and finally get that desired leadership opportunity.

Maybe your boss is stone-walling you, perhaps no one is giving you a shot for internal management roles that you’re going for – whatever it is, I’m here to provide you with actionable solutions that protect you from the fatal career communication plateau that I constantly notice whenever I first meet a client to build up their personal brand to showcase leadership potential.

This blog post is best digested in 3 parts:

  1. Check the list of 11 Skills behind communicating effectively at work below. The post is in 2 parts so stay tuned for next week’s instalment.
  2. Watch the vlog.
  3. If you want to enhance your career communication to showcase your leadership potential, it’s critical to know what tactics are missing! My High-Performance Communication Audit will uncover precisely what is missing in your career communication.

If you’ve already got a job in your field, chances are you have effective communication strategies, but today this is not what we’re talking about. We are talking about more than that. Instead, we need to uncover methods for effective communication at work that prove you have the skill to lead, manage and succeed at it! 

Successful leaders in the workplace use different communication strategies because they must show up differently from junior or non-executive employees. So what does it take?

11 Skills to Work On If You Want to Showcase Your Leadership Potential

Business is a risk game, and human error is the most severe risk for any organisation. However, leaders hold the key to business growth. Charismatic leaders practically turn everything to gold that they touch. Organisational psychology, sales and marketing research constantly validate that charisma increases the dollar value. 

Businesses are not charity organisations that hand out jobs for goodwill. 

Market demand started the business, and the bottom line keeps it going. 

Don’t feel personally offended if you’ve not been appointed to a leadership position. 

But do take a reality check and ask a motivating question:

How much value am I showcasing to my organisation?

Your value offer determines job retention and promotional opportunities. They are paying you, after all!

Consider your reputation management. Without taking it personally, could it be that other individuals around you built better reputations, and that’s why they secured the latest management position over you?

Feeling sidelined? Chances are you’ve got a reputation management issue, and one of the best ways to solve that is to reposition your value offer by investing in proven communication tactics that increase leadership potential. Repositioning your value can only happen if you play the game differently with a new strategy to get the desired results.

FREE MASTERCLASS : How to Look, Sound & Feel more Confident at Work

communicate effectively at work

High-Performance Communication is the core signal you need to beam out to obtain a leadership position consistently. It’s not ok to be a sub-par if you want to get ahead professionally, build your management career or even branch out into entrepreneurship.

11 Skills to Work On If You Want to Showcase Your Leadership Potential

Business is a risk game, and human error is the most severe risk for any organisation. However, leaders hold the key to business growth. Charismatic leaders practically turn everything to gold that they touch. Organisational psychology, sales and marketing research constantly validate that charisma increases the dollar value. 

Businesses are not charity organisations that hand out jobs for goodwill. 

Market demand started the business, and the bottom line keeps it going. 

Don’t feel personally offended if you’ve not been appointed to a leadership position. 

But do take a reality check and ask a motivating question:

How much value am I showcasing to my organisation?

Your value offer determines job retention and promotional opportunities. They are paying you, after all!

Consider your reputation management. Without taking it personally, could it be that other individuals around you built better reputations, and that’s why they secured the latest management position over you?

Feeling sidelined? Chances are you’ve got a reputation management issue, and one of the best ways to solve that is to reposition your value offer by investing in proven communication tactics that increase leadership potential. Repositioning your value can only happen if you play the game differently with a new strategy to get the desired results.

High-Performance Communication is the core signal you need to beam out to obtain a leadership position consistently. It’s not ok to be a sub-par if you want to get ahead professionally, build your management career or even branch out into entrepreneurship.

Watch out for excuses

Ask yourself the following question:

What excuses do I make for not having a leadership role yet?

I concur that our excuses slow our careers, businesses and personal growth. Once you’ve read through the list of the 11 imperative skills you need to leverage to showcase your leadership potential, ensure you’ve not swiped them into the spam folder. These all need to be in your inbox every day. 

Here are some common excuses I frequently hear from employees waiting for leadership roles about why they got overlooked for management positions…

“But that person got promoted over me because they’re closer with the executives than I am…”

Ok, sure. I accept that. It’s common for promotions to result from a close relationship. Now we don’t have time to talk about whether that’s fair or not, but if this is your key excuse, you’re dealing with a communication problem. Instead of bemoaning your lack of influential connections at work, read the room and take note. Quite possibly, you’re in an organisation where the people who build influential relationships are the people who get promoted. If this is the case and you’re struggling, here’s tactic #1.

communicate effectively at work

1) Get better at talking to people- especially those that you struggle to find mutual interest and understanding with.

Successful leaders don’t just command a team; they need to inspire and connect with them. If you fail to connect with influential people across the organisation, chances are you’re lost in the shuffle and likely to lose the game.

You’ll need: Rapport-building strategies to engage and strengthen trust, even with people you don’t naturally gravitate to. Focus on the outliers. Who don’t you talk to? Who annoys you or feels distant from you? Working on emotional intelligence skills and rapport-building techniques is the only way to build trust and interest is the first step to rapport. Emotionally intelligent communicators can communicate with anyone effectively in a way that steps up the relationship positively, irrespective of their conversation partner’s personality or manner.

However, if you can only speak effectively to certain types of people, you’d not be the best investment to choose for leadership for an organisation. The most powerful leaders I’ve met as an executive communication consultant are masters of conversation. They can take small talk to a heartfelt and engaging conversation rapidly. If you’re highly ambitious and want to get to the top of an organisation, conversational agility is a vital skill that you can’t ignore. Figurehead positions are best occupied by individuals with advanced social intelligence who can intersect with all levels of the organisation, public market, media and the public.

Expertise is not all it takes to secure a leadership position. The C-suite is increasingly hiring more for soft skills than expertise these days, so how can you set up the clear message that you fit the bill when you’re keen for a workplace promotion into a leadership position?

If you’re feeling stuck, you probably are! The solution is to find a way to master the conversation skills needed that create strong team cultures and start showing them, not matter your current position. 

communicate effectively at work

2) Stop leader shaming and focus on personal communication improvement.

If you’re quick to shame someone on their leadership skills, your emotional intelligence needs a workout. Focusing on the “poor” leaders around you is a debilitating distraction that will keep you from committing to the personal growth work it takes to be an effective leader.

It’s easy to boo and jeer from the sidelines, but don’t waste your energy on this- you have a leadership goal. The truth about leader shaming is this- most high-powered CEOs I work with have no time to complain about their colleagues. They’re too busy doing the personal development work on their weaknesses to get the best out of their team interactions, and actually, more often than not, are too positive to belittle, bitch and undermine people around them. The best CEOs tend to plug the poor communication gaps by doubling down on their emotional intelligence skills to inspire and bring the best results, or better yet, invest in communication training for their employees to enhance their professional potential.

If you’re not yet in a leadership position, instead of focusing on how you’d do it differently from your boss, look at where you see them struggling and position yourself to start building concrete skills to be ready. And never underestimate the challenge of leadership.

3) Learn to speak assertively at work.

 

It’s a trap to think you’ll only be promoted if you’re super agreeable. Stand for something! 

Employees that are too agreeable are more likely to be passed over. Now, I’m not recommending that you start to be fractious and obnoxious to get ahead at work, but you should keep a balance between agreeable communication and assertiveness. 

Managing a team tends to increase the urgency for decision-making—the higher your position, the more responsibility you hold. Using people-pleasing language and hedging while striving to make everyone agree with you is unlikely to get you ahead at work. As a leader, this style of speaking tends to create confusion. Instead, you’ll want to work on your ability to position your opinion with conviction while building rapport simultaneously. Increase your ability to present information decisively, without apology. 

If you’re not in a leadership position, and currently have little opportunity to showcase decision making skills, implementing assertive speaking in crucial moments can be a very effective way to exhibit leadership tendencies.

communicate effectively at work

4) Learn new words every day.

 

As you build out your leadership profile with careful consideration of communication, don’t overlook the expanded scope that an advanced vocabulary can give you. 

If you want to sound relevant at work, a weak vocabulary can be a stumbling block.

Neutral words plummet your leadership presence (Fields, 2016) and “weak words reduce leadership impact (Schwartzberg, 2021)”.

If you’re mumbling and stumbling through conversations, presentations, or even emails, you need a structured system to build up your word power skills.

Are you looking to grow your vocabulary to deliver stand-out messages and feel more confident expressing yourself?

The more expansive your vocabulary is, the less time it will take to present clear and impactful messages that showcase confident communication and leadership presence.

If you’re heading into job interviews for leadership with a weak vocabulary, cross your fingers and hope you get across the line with your technical know-how. Speakers that use longer, more complex words are instantly rated as more persuasive (Nguyen, 2021). You don’t need to be the next Hemingway or Tolstoy to get the dream leadership role but you do need to present with persuasive delivery for which a solid vocabulary is necessary.

Part 2 is coming next week so make sure you join our email list to be notified when it pushes live!

Sara Geiger

References

  • Fields, E. C. and G. R. Kuperberg (2016). “Dynamic Effects of Self-Relevance and Task on the Neural Processing of Emotional Words in Context.” Frontiers in Psychology 6(2003).

  • Schwartzberg, J. (2021). Find the Right Words to Inspire your Team. Harvard Business Review

communication consultant

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About the Author

Sara Geiger is a Keynote Speaker, Executive Speaking Coach, and Opera Singer who likes to play with words, sounds, and your impact. 

Her academic background is in Music Performance, Communication Science and Speech & Language Pathology. She’s currently completing a PhD in Opera Performance.

Connect with Sara on LinkedIn.

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