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  • Can You Over Communicate?

    shutterstock_142583188At a time with so many ways to communicate in person and online, it’s a reasonable question: Can you over communicate?

    No, you can never over communicate. It’s sort of as the daft expression people like to say, “you can’t be too pretty, or have too much money.”

    How you communicate is what makes the difference.

    Effective leaders in any walk of life use questions instead of statements as their primary communication tool though. They use inquiring words like “who…what…why…when…where…and how,” to find out what is important in a conversation 80% of the time and pontificate or proclaim by way of statements merely 20% of the time.

    When you ask questions be sure to phrase and deliver with an emotionally regulated tone of voice along with a relaxed, non-judgmental facial expression so the query is well received. “I was curious how the report turned out. Can you update me?” is much more effective than, said with a sneer, “Did you even remember to finally do the report?”

    From query learn, engage, let others shine. You don’t do it to interrogate, put a person into a corner, or be hostile.

    A key component of asking is to then listen to the answer.

    Even when you know the answer it is important to ask people to get their reply; their point of view, first. You want to learn their thinking and test how close or far apart you are. If you want to influence people you don’t always have control over you best find out what they want to achieve and what they want to avoid. By asking you discover if and where there is a dangerous gap.

    The most powerful motivating question is “What do you want to steer clear of; when the dust settles what don’t you want to have happen?” People are more motivated by a negative outcome than a positive one. If I called you at 3 AM and told you, “I bought you four new tires for your car,” you would receive the news less favorably than if I called you at 3AM and said, “I was just driving by your house and I see some kids taking the tires off your car.” Avoiding loosing your tires is more motivating than getting new ones — at least at that time!

    One universal truism is that leaders stand out from the crowd. In effort to communicate well — even if you were trained to give answers — you will positively stand out when you ask questions before giving answers, recommendations, and solutions.

    D.A. (Debra) Benton has been helping great individuals and organizations get even better for over 20 years. Just as exceptional athletes rely on excellent coaching to hone their skills, Debra's clients rely on her advice to advance their careers. She focuses on what is truly important to convert what you and your organization want to be from a vision into a reality. TopCEOCoaches.com ranks her in the World's Top 10 CEO Coaches noting she is the top female. And as conference keynote speaker she is routinely rated in the top 2%. Her client list reads like a “Who's Who” of executives in companies ranging from Microsoft, McDonald's, Kraft, American Express, Merrill Lynch, United Airlines, and PricewaterhouseCoopers to the Washington Beltway and U.S.Border Patrol. *She is the author of ten award-winning and best-selling business books including The Virtual Executive and CEO Material. She has written for the Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Fast Company. She has been featured in USA Today, Fortune, The New York Times, and Time; she has appeared on Today Show, Good Morning America, CNN, and CBS with Diane Sawyer. To learn more Debra advising leaders, coaching, facilitating a workshop, or speaking: www.debrabenton.com

    Posted in Personal Branding
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