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What Do People Hear?

You've probably heard me say this a million times….so here it is one more time. Most of our communication is nonverbal. How you say it and what you look like when you say it far outweighs what you said! Smart leaders don't stop by asking, What did I say? They ask the bigger and more pertinent question. What did they hear?

We are all different. Words mean different things. Expressions have different meanings. Even humor can be misunderstood because of environmental and cultural differences. The differences in our backgrounds require leaders to be intentional about nurturing environments and relationships that value clear communication and feedback.

Since leaders, by virtue of their position are primary sources of information and often the first line of communication, our chances of being misunderstood can be higher than anticipated.
We want to be the kind of leader that's empathetic to the pain and feelings of others. Our goal is to communicate from the strengths of emotional intelligence, operating with a keen sensitivity to how our decisions impact those we lead.

Here are just a few practical tips to aid you in your success:

  1. Ask people what they heard. This question will help you improve your content.
  2. Ask people how they felt. This question will help you with emotional awareness.
  3. Ask for feedback before, during, and after the team completes a project. This will communicate value to the team!

There will be times when you need feedback on sensitive issues. Consider providing anonymous tools like surveys to get more information. Your team will appreciate knowing that what they think matters to you!

Help people hear your heart by listening to theirs,


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