Beyond Buzzwords: Authentic Communication Leads to Real-World Results.Jan 15, 2024
"Jargon allows us to camouflage intellectual poverty with verbal extravagance."
David Pratt, Foreign Editor, Sunday Herald
As an executive leader, please do not let your company's shorthanded language get in the way of your strong communication.
Unpacking an issue, gaining alignment, removing the white space or create the tension.... Way too many leaders in business are using the same standard sets of words to describe situations, rather than speaking in real, relatable and relevant terms.
Why do leaders rely on certain buzzwords to communicate business concepts rather than explaining what they mean?
Is it because they think it makes them sound smart? I'm here to share with you that it only adds to more confusion, compared to what is really need and that is clarity.
When leaders string together long sequences of buzzwords or use them to replace what needs more explanation, they lose all their value, and they alienate team members.
Words matter and you must choose them wisely.
Communicate in a way that brings you and your company to life. Catchy marketing phrases and buzzwords is not an appropriate way to connect and rally your people together.
In George Orwell’s essay, “Politics and the English Language.” he shares his opinion on our reliance on dying metaphors, pretentious diction, stale similes and idioms, and other instances of mannered verbiage that has clouded our thinking.
He understood that if we only recite clichéd and meaningless phrases because they sound nice, we’re spared the effort and challenge of not only crafting our thoughts and opinions into fresh language, but actually confronting what our thoughts and opinions really are.
In other words, using unclear and cliched business jargon reflects upon you with unclarity and canned thinking.
Avoid the buzzword trap by:
- Speaking the way people actually talk.
- Providing examples that are understandable.
- Bringing more specificity into your communication.
THERE IS POWER BEHIND WORDS
"Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble."
You never know when one word, one sentence or one paragraph can positively affect someone's day. On the flip side, failing to pay attention to the words you use may negatively impact someone's day, their thoughts or how they feel about you and your company.
You must align your words, voice inflection, tonality, eye expression, and body language, in an honest exchange. This is what Selling from the Heart is all about.
You must become disciplined to speak in a manner which conveys respect, credibility and humility.
Polishing one's vocabulary is the sign of a mature business executive.
Thich Nhat Hanh, a contemporary Buddhist monk, global peace worker, and the author of, Being Peace, shares... "Speaking honestly in any negotiation between individuals or groups is necessary. Speaking the truth in a loving way is also necessary."
Hahn goes on to say, "We must be 'lovingly honest'; we must discipline ourselves to speak in a manner that conveys respect, gentleness, and humility."
How can you apply this to your communication to better connect with your people?
As a leader and executive, I would like for you to think about how you're carrying yourself, the words you are using, the messaging you are using, and how all of this might be connecting or disconnecting you from your people.
WORDS AND YOUR MESSAGING ARE LIKE SEEDS
Napoleon Hill once said,
"Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another."
You have a choice in the kinds of words you use.
Proverbs 18:21 states,
“Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”
When you consistently plant the vocabulary seeds of professionalism, you will reap a fruitful life and so will your company.
To quote Robert Louis Stevenson,
"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant."
Think about how you're communicating with your people, what may be going on in their world? What can you do to build them up and to provide them comfort in rowing in the direction towards business betterment?
I encourage you to plant the biggest communication seed of all, and this would be the seed of being impeccable with your words.
In Don Miguel Ruiz’s amazing book, The Four Agreements, the first agreement is to be impeccable with your words. This means that before you speak, you choose your words carefully as they have the power to create or destroy.
Be thoughtful about what you say and how you say it. Every time you open your mouth becomes an opportunity for you to stay true to yourself and what you value.
This is why I believe that using plain simple language removes the barrier between your people and their ability, desire and determination to carry out your mission.
AUTHENTIC AND CLEAR COMMUNICATION FOSTERS CONNECTION
"Speak clearly, if you speak at all; carve every word before you let it fall."
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
Was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. onto something when it came to communication?
Back in the 1800's, he surrounded himself with the literary legends, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Together, they left a massive imprint within the literary world of the 19th century that flows right into the present.
Why am I bringing this into this message? Because of another one his quotes...
"Language is the blood of the soul into which thoughts run and out of which they grow."
As an executive leader, the language you use, how you communicate it and how well you engage in meaningful conversations become foundational to your company's sales success.
If you desire to elevate your company to new heights, then you must hone in on developing your conversational, people and relational skills.
AUTHENTIC COMMUNICATION DRIVES BUSINESS RESULTS
“Nothing in life is more important than the ability to communicate effectively.”
Gerald R. Ford, former United States president
Authentic business communication and practices play a critical role in driving real-world results. When executive leadership prioritizes authenticity, they build trust with their people, and their clients, which ultimately contributes to business success.
Ditch the corporate buzzword soup, use authentic business communication and practices to drive your competitive edge.
Authentic communication and business practices are not only healthy but quite strategic. They create a solid foundation for building relationships with your people, fostering loyalty, and achieving sustainable success out into the marketplace.
As an executive leader, authentic communication drives tangible results such as:
- Trust Building: Authentic communication is deeply rooted in honesty and transparency. Trust is mission critical in establishing and maintaining relationships with your people.
- Enhancing Relationships: Authentic communication fuels meaningful connections. This leads to more productive collaborations with your people and with your clients.
- Increased Employee Engagement: Authentic communication is vital for employee engagement. When leaders communicate openly, it creates a positive and healthy environment. People are more likely to feel valued, heard, and connected to the company's mission, leading to higher levels of engagement and productivity across all levels.
Authentic communication is not just a soft skill; it's a strategic asset that drives hard dollars and results.
The power of authentic communication is evident in building trust, fostering collaboration, and achieving positive outcomes.
CLEAR, SIMPLE BUSINESS LANGUAGE DRIVES RESULTS
Language connects people. It allows us to form, build and grow relationships, whether personal or professional.
Albert Einstein once said,
"If you can’t explain something simply, you don’t understand it well.”
Using plain and simple language as an executive leader is not a sign of weakness, it's a sign of wisdom.
As an executive leader, I ask you to...
- Ditch your ego - An important part of embracing plain language is letting go of your desire to use impressive words.
- Keep it simple - Use familiar and easy to understand words.
In your communication, the only thing you can control is yourself, your behavior, and how you carry yourself.
Imagine how the communication with your people could turn out by speaking effectively and listening consciously. Your people will leave conversations energized, inspired and action oriented.
Authentic communication creates connection. Authentic communication creates loyalty. Authentic communication builds trust. Authentic communication drives business results. And I know that is what you want!
Originally published on Larry Levine's LinkedIn.
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