We believe the ability to communicate with purpose and clarity is the key to personal and professional success. We’re not alone. In a recent CNBC interview, Julie Sweet, the CEO of Accenture’s North America business said the greatest advice she could give was this: “Develop excellent communication skills. I think people underrate the importance of investing in [their] communication skills as a way to progress in [their] career.” She knows what she’s talking about. She runs a $16 billion business and oversees a team of more than 50,000 employees.
With 2016 behind us, here are five reasons why you should increase your communication skills in 2017.
Five reasons why you should increase your communication skills
Improve rapport and increase sales
“Up to 90% of success in selling depends on your skills for establishing rapport with your prospect or customer,” says Janine Driver in her book, “You Say More Than You Think.” Rapport is defined as a close and harmonious relationship in which the people or groups concerned understand each other’s feelings or ideas and communicate well. All successful negotiations trade in trust and credibility, and the way you communicate with others throughout the process will help.
Manage and develop employees
ATD recently released the results of a study focused on a manager’s ACCEL skills (accountability, communication, collaboration, engagement, and listening and assessing) and their ability to successfully develop their employees. Communication (29 percent) and listening and assessing skills (21 percent) were particularly low. According to the article’s author, Megan Cole, this was particularly disconcerting because “…they are the most basic skills necessary for a manager to possess when developing others, because development requires a conversation between parties.”
Increase change management success
Forty six percent of change management efforts fail during execution, according to a Robert Half Management Resources survey. Why? Lack of communication. Tim Hird, executive director for the company, said, “Sixty five percent of respondents said that communicating clearly and frequently is the most important action to take when going through organizational change.”
Communicate regularly to improve employee engagement
Kevin Kruse, a New York Times best selling author and expert on employee engagement defines employee engagement is “The emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.” To bolster that emotional commitment, increase communication. According to recent Harvard Business Review post, What Great Managers Do Daily, those who get twice the number of one-on-ones with their manager relative to their peers are 67 percent less likely to be disengaged. The study also found those employees where managers don’t meet with them one-on-one or at all, or fail to provide on-the-job training, are four times as likely to be disengaged as individual contributors as a whole, and are two times as likely to view leadership more unfavorably compared to those who meet with their managers regularly.
Improve presentation skills
“As I’m sure you are aware, in any kind of leadership role it is a given that you need to make presentations in various situations and present well. What many people don’t seem to appreciate is that every time you stand up in front of a group of people it is a golden opportunity to raise your profile and become even more influential.” This according to Lynda Shaw’s recent Forbes.com post, “What CEOs Want To Hear In 2017.”
As mentioned in The Pin Drop Principle, you can be the most brilliant nuclear physicist in the world, but if the audience you are presenting to have fallen asleep, the theories you are there to explain will not be understood. As a salesperson, you can have the most amazing product on the market, but if your customer isn’t clear about what it can do for them, you are not making that sale. As anyone tasked with delivering a message to others knows, you need to penetrate your audience to make an impact on them. You must engage them if you hope to persuade them.
To learn more about how we can help you increase your communication skills in 2017, please contact us.