As I write this, we have few clues as to how long travel and social contact restrictions will last. Much of what we take for granted as normal living will remain on hold for the foreseeable future. But it’s all for a reason. And we’re mostly learning to make the best of the situation and carry on.
Covid-19 is throwing the kitchen sink at business leaders in terms of personal and leadership challenges. One of the biggest will be communication skills. Many of our normal interactions with colleagues, clients, suppliers and partners are off the agenda. Yet, at the same time, people crave reassurance. Or, if that isn’t possible, a bit of understanding and clarity.
Personal, face-to-face communication is where we tend to look when there is uncertainty and anxiety - but that isn’t open to us right now. So we have to choose our communication media carefully. We have to make a conscious effort to be even more empathetic and sensitive to how people are feeling when we communicate. We have to be hyper-aware of the potential impact of our message and how it is delivered.
There are plenty of online channels, forums and communication tools that you can use to carry your message, keep your team motivated, keep in touch with clients and remain visible. LinkedIn, Twitter, your company blog, email, YouTube, Zoom and webinar platforms - you have so many options. Use them carefully, but above all, use them.
Well Chosen Words
For leaders it’s a question of understanding what needs to be communicated, to whom, and how. Tone and careful choice of words are critical. ‘Is this the right time?’ should be at the forefront of your mind. Always aim to add value to your audience.
Covid-19 brings a raft of big, urgent problems that need to be resolved. But the crisis will end. Communicating a clear and positive vision for the future to employees and clients is important for everyone’s wellbeing, and that of your business.
For most, there are opportunities as well as problems. The businesses that are poised for success when the crisis recedes will be spending more energy on the former. Grasp any extra time you have and use it to learn, work on your brand communications, or even just improve your bid writing skills.
And if you want to do something as straightforward as honing your presentation skills, send me an email and we’ll work out a way of doing this remotely.
There are many things that your business does that could have been done more efficiently or effectively - including communication. Now’s the time to plan how you’re going to change all of that. You’ve probably had to make drastic changes to how you work and communicate already - how can you build on that for the future?
My final thought is this: anyone who can work through the current difficult circumstances spreading positivity and helpful ideas will be remembered for all the right reasons. So the question is: How do you want to be remembered?
There’s a little part of most people that imagines themselves standing up in front of an audience and having them eating out of their hand. Rapt, the audience hangs on every word, laughs on cue and follows every nuance.
And most people grudgingly admit that this vision is unattainable. They feel they lack the booming voice, and the broad sweeps and gestures of the theatrical presentation style that they think will be needed.
Well, here’s the good news. It’s inside all of us to command the attention of a room full of strangers. To find the secret of how to do this, inside ourselves is where we need to look. Unless you have the acting talent of Olivier the secret doesn’t lie in pretending to be someone else. It’s about being yourself, only more so.
Be honest, we’ve all done it. Sat through a presentation wishing, hoping and praying that the ground would swallow us up. Staying awake through a mixture of willpower and distraction. And then, after the presentation, the presenter asks you what you thought and whether you found it useful. And you said, “...
Did you tell them that the audience already knew most of what they covered, that their slides were boring, that you struggled to relate the content to the title, that their presenting style lacked colour or conviction?
Or did you do the ‘British thing’ and say, ‘it was great, everyone really enjoyed it!’?
I have many years of senior sales and account management positions.
This experience taught me how to interpret exactly what clients are seeking, and what they need and expect to see and hear from the successful bidder. We draw on this experience to give your team an additional competitive advantage by building on their existing strengths while improving their team-working and self-awareness.