No matter what industry you are in, one thing that will ensure your success as a leader: your ability to communicate effectively.
Doing well can help you build trust and connections with others. It also opens doors to career success by helping you bridge the gap between your clients, colleagues, or partners.
Communication is about using your emotional intelligence to understand and recognize emotions. Then you can use that information to guide your decision-making.
Even the most intelligent and emotionally competent leaders can stumble or struggle under pressure.
If you work in a fast lane, you may react immediately to any email, issue, or person, even if it isn’t something you agree with. This can lead to you saying and doing things you later regret.
Communication is not about being reactive but thoughtfully responsive. Only the best communicators know how to tell the difference. Craig Ferguson, a comedian, and T.V. personality is an excellent example of this. He suggests that you pause before you say anything first to ask these three questions.
1. Do we need to say this?
Before you start to speak or send that email, think about whether what you are about to say is a critical bit of communication. You can further refine it by using the T.H.I.N.K. acronym. Ask yourself whether it is True, Helpful. Inspiring. Necessary. Kind. It might be better than spoken if it doesn’t fulfill most of these criteria.
2. Do I need to say this?
After you have determined that you need to communicate something, you can ask if you should do so. It depends on the situation and the relationship you have with the recipient. It might be easier to relay the information to a colleague or your direct reports. This applies to all conversations. Your senior leaders should be empowered to share positive news and feedback to show others they trust you and value your judgment.
3. Do I need to say this now?
This is not something you should say, even if it is essential. Take a moment to relax and reset. Chances are you’ll find that your comment can wait until you have the time to prepare, schedule an appointment for a later date, and write a thoughtful reply–or that you don’t even need to respond.
These three questions will help you be more deliberate about how and when you deliver your message. Your ability to communicate clearly and effectively, even when stressed or involved in a high-stress situation, will make you a better leader and communicator.