Communications Skills for Leaders and Teams

Article Contributed by Valerie Boudreau

When team members communicate effectively with each other, they can collaborate well and work together to reach a common goal more efficiently. Good communication within a team allows for the better exchange of ideas, execution of projects, and cooperation among the group.

Communication skills are one of the most important leadership skills because they have a huge impact on meeting goals.

How can you improve your communication skills?

Practice Active Listening

Communication is a two-way process, but often we don’t listen to the other person’s responses. We tend to focus on how we are going to respond.

Use techniques like clarifying, paraphrasing, and asking questions to demonstrate you are listening.

Tune into body language

Nonverbal communication/ body language, includes eye contact, posture, facial expressions, gestures, and voice tone.

When you are speaking to others, ensure your words and body language match – studies show that 55-60% of our message is conveyed through nonverbals/body language.  When you are listening to others, use open body language: eye contact, open facial expressions, head nodding and attentive posture to show you are listening.

Be clear and concise

Avoid using general and vague terms.  Instead focus on action words/verbs and clear and concise requests. Use “I” statements to convey feelings, requests or changes in action. Know your audience and be sure to cater your message to what they need to know, hear, take action on etc.

Ask questions

Asking questions develops your understanding of something and shows your interest in what the other person is saying. This simple tool can help you demonstrate you are paying attention and care about what the person is saying.

These simple changes can help you to communicate more effectively with others.  If you are a leader, it’s important to demonstrate effective communication skills to be a role model for your team.  A team that communicates well is a team that will be able to meet the challenges you have for them.