Three keys to effective communication

In a blog post last week, I asked two questions: What makes for an effective communicator? What makes for effective communications? This week, I want to explore some of my thoughts on how to answer those questions.

Let’s take the latter question first. Effective communication equals genuine conversations. It is all about two-way communication — dialogue not monologue. It is tempting to replace the word authentic with genuine with the above definition but I believe that would be a mistake. Genuine is simply a more precise word. To be genuine means to be three things: be available, vulnerable and reliable.

So, now we can answer the first question. An effective communicator must be able to be available with their time. They must not be afraid to show their emotions at the right moment, especially with their inner circle. They are also reliable – they are leaders others can depend on unequivocally.

Most of all, effective communicators speak with sincerity and authority. This is the most powerful combination.

Effective communicators also use stories and images to make their communications come to life. I recently heard Super Bowl-winning Coach Tony Dungy speak. He was incredibly effective. Why?

He was sincere and did not hold back on what he wanted to say about various life lessons. Did he blow me away with the style part of his speech? No. Was he Mr. Telegenic? No. And it did not matter.

I will never forget how he commanded my attention on stage, the stories he told and how he showed his heart to those attending.

When he finished his talk, there was no doubt about the sincerity of his remarks and the authority in which he delivered these remarks.  Leaders are always communicators.