Lessons in communication from Simon Sinek that would help leaders

Communication is a two-way street. Even when you are speaking at a podium, you need to communicate, that is to say you need to involve everyone you are talking to. It doesn’t mean that everyone should talk while you are at podium, it means you are able to reach them and make an impact that you wish to create, it means that you are able to help them listen to you.

Simon Sinek makes some real hard-hitting points that leaders can use for better communication. Here are a few that I have drawn from his talks for you –

Talk about what you believe

‘What’ tells the details of the task, ‘why’ gives direction and builds trust. If you ask someone to clean a rack, they will only clean the rack, at best. But if you ask someone to clean the rack so you can arrange books there, so that every individual who wants to gain knowledge, can find it on one of the shelves here. they may/will be able to add more value to the task. Cleaning the rack will be least of the tasks that they would do. Your belief will give them purpose. Purpose will help them draw value for themselves and others.

So, it’s easy. Talk about what you believe. Talk about why you think something should be done. Talk about why you think what you think, why you believe what you believe. That’s the best you can do and that will bring out the best in people who work with you.

End your statements with – “What do you think?” “Do you have any other idea?” “Do you think there is anything else or anything more we can do?” Help them understand their how your belief correlates to theirs and what’s their role in the whole thing.

Communication is not about speaking what we think. It’s about ensuring other hear what we mean

How people converse is the sum of their interactions with people, books, characters, fiction, nature and beyond over their lifetime. As every individual differs in these experiences, everyone’s way of speaking and understanding is different. To get on the same grounds, it’s important that you choose your words and your stories very carefully. What you say and what the impact is, should correlate. If you say ‘x’ and the impact is ‘y’, i.e., there is no relation between your intention and their perception, you may need to change your narrative.

When you write something down to communicate to a larger audience, may be run it down with a few individuals separately and derive what they draw. It will give you a little bit more clarity on how a larger population will perceive the message.

Go first

This is not exactly what Simon Sinek says from the perspective of communication but also one of the messages that I drew from his talks and that I think best relate to communication for leaders. Go first. Everything that you do communicates with your people – be it the sacrifice you make for them, be it when you fall silent at times, be it when you choose to not follow a project or a product, be it when you drop a project midway.

May be everyone is thinking about it, but no one wants to risk saying it. Address the elephant in the room. Go first. It helps your people to feel safe around you, feel safe speaking their mind.

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