Higher ed is really about communication. As leaders, we communicate with a wide range of stakeholders, from students and colleagues to vendors and community members. We need to listen carefully and craft messages that can help build two-way communication.
The Teaching Professor blog recently had a post about crafting better explanations in the classroom. I thought the tips worked well for leadership communication as well.
- Use language the hearer can understand. Your audience may not have the specialized knowledge and background you have. Test out your message to be sure it makes sense to the people receiving it.
- Pace communication appropriately. You’ve been thinking about this issue for a while. Your audience may be hearing it for the first time. Develop your communication plan to allow time for people to hear the message, consider it, and hear it again in a different way.
- Prepare more than one way to explain. People learn in different ways. What seems crystal clear to you may not be as clear to the listeners. Listen carefully to questions and reactions and be prepared to address different styles.
- Use examples that are meaningful to the listener. A powerful story that helps draw listeners in can be one of the most effective ways to help make your message stick. Share your stories and listen carefully to theirs.
The blog pointed out that classroom explanations can always be improved. The same holds true for leadership communication. How have you seen leaders build effective two-way communication?
Dee Anne Bonebright