Thursday, March 23Welcome

Why Leaders Are Poor Communicators

Illustrated by Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Illustrated by Eniola Odetunde/Axios

This article appeared in Axios Finish Line, our nightly newsletter on life, leadership and health. Sign up here.

All businesses, nonprofits, and organizations around the world must quickly and dramatically rethink how they communicate with their employees, donors, customers, and shareholders.

Important reasons: Communication is arguably the most important skill for any leader or function within any organization, large or small. And most smoke it.

Since COVID, consider doing something:

  • Many people still work from their couches, kitchens, and coffee shops, never returning to a physical office to connect and learn.
  • We all have more notifications, bells or pings on our phones than ever before. Hence the constant distraction.

So it is impossible to reach people today. Or use old communication techniques to get motivated. They are also more needy.

  • Employees want more transparency, meaning, attention and connection than ever before. They want to know what you do more than you make a product or money.
  • Many expect their companies and bosses to behave like idealistic politicians, taking public positions and actions in all social debates. They want proof of heart and humanity.

Shift from thinking now Consider internal communications and how leaders and groups connect externally.

  • Tweets can have more impact than national television broadcasts.
  • There are over 10 different information ecosystems with different audiences. Think TikTok kids, Facebook seniors, right-wing podcast conservatives.
  • In this day and age, generic press releases are useless.

sitting down Executives are often geared up for an era that ended many years ago. They know it but don’t know what to do.

Stakes: This poses a clear present danger to their culture, productivity and future success. Poor communication leads to poor execution, mistrust of employees, and most notably lack of coordination.

  • Let this sink in: largely every day leader of every day Companies spend most of their time communicating, but no one can tell you how to do it efficiently, effectively, and profitably.

Here are four easy steps to fix this.

1. Have a communicator on your right hand. If you’re not a natural communicator and don’t have real expertise, the head of communications and marketing is just as important as the COO and his CFO.

2. Hire fluent people in modern communications. You need to know how your Twitter message should look different on Facebook, local media, TV, and YouTube. A few cozy relationships with reporters won’t help.

3. Rethink your style. You may be talking or writing for too long, daydreaming, or absent-minded. We need to be smarter, simpler and more realistic.

4. Listen. It is an essential element of better communication. Knowing which words, phrases and ideas will reach your audience and which will fail allows for more transparent and authentic communication. This means having more conversations with more people on more levels. It’s your own personal focus group.

To the point: If your organization communicates internally and externally in the same tone and rhythm as it did before work from anywhere, you’re wrong.

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