Management Communication Habits – Offline and … Online? (Work From Home/ Telecommuting Tips)
The recent COVID-19 measures have meant that we have escaped the physical office space, and the communication challenges that it brings. Especially for those in management positions, the measures also signal a need to adapt and change the way you interact with your colleagues at work. This does not mean you can forget about honing or continuing to sharpen your communication tools. It is even more important now to consolidate the techniques, practise in low-stakes online settings, and prepare to implement these management communication skills once you return to the physical office space.
Communication skills in management settings are often associated with a more exuberant, confident and powerful style. It is often discussed together with various leadership skills. Some even view these communication skills as a function of nature over nurture. We disagree. These management communication skills, especially in a corporate setting, are rooted in foundational communication/public speaking techniques, practised to perfection. You will need to start somewhere so today, this article will share some of the core tenets of management communication skills that we find essential for the modern workspace!
Core Pillar #1: Clarity in Interactions
“Sorry, can you repeat that again?” Clarity in instructions can be a premium at times, especially in a high pace environment. I grew up hearing that question a lot, as an accomplished ‘mumble-r’ myself, made worse by my lower general vocal tone. The constant need for clarification, even while on stage at times, led me to realise the importance of maintaining a clear vocal quality during a speech or presentation. The same applies to you – what is your trait that affects the clarity in your interactions? Start by scrutinising your vocal quality – how do you sound? What effect does your voice have? Try the Third-Party Perspective and place yourself in the shoes of the listener – how would you feel?
Beyond focusing on your vocal quality, clarity in your interactions can also be established through a clear structure. You need to ensure that from a management standpoint, your directions are clear, logical and facilitative. Try using transition phrases or signposting. For example, instead of layering multiple instructions, package them in a thematic structure. Instead of:
Alright, remember to prepare the report for our product launch. And remember to also add the details from our discussions earlier. Include the contingency plans as well. And remember to introduce our team in the foreword.
See the difference in this example instead:
Alright, please remember to prepare the report for our product launch. There are three main things I am looking out for. First, the report should include the details of our discussion earlier. Second, we should add the contingency plans as a separate section in the report. Third, please remember to introduce our team in the foreword.
As you practise and internalise this mental exercise into a proper habit, you will find your instructions coming across clearly, concisely, and cogently. This is more likely to breed confidence in your ability as a leader or in a management position.
Core Pillar #2: Vocal Tone is Key
We had touched upon the importance of vocal tone briefly, and we would emphasise this again. Be it an online setting or a face-to-face interaction, a lot can change based on your vocal tone alone. Let’s try a simple exercise. Saying the phrase “I am happy” with a jovial tone compared to a sorrowful one can show you just how a conscious change in tone can trigger different emotional responses in your audience. The keyword here is “conscious”. Most of us, in our communication settings or even in management positions, do not see the need to be conscious about our vocal tone (sometimes the reverse effect happens e.g. when we get too angry, our tone can get involuntarily sharp and cutting!).
Part of developing a conscious control of our vocal tone is through awareness. Aside from having an accurate understanding of your vocal tone through recording or feedback, you can start by observing the tendencies of others around you. Replicate the positive vocal tone habits that you find constructive and modify those that may be counterproductive. We would emphasise that we often have a skewed perspective of how we sound like. It is this disconnect that sometimes separates a management’s sincere intent and the negative response that results.
Core Pillar #3: Secure Commitment through Engagement
The final word is key, and we all know the importance of having a clear Call to Action, especially for persuasive or inspirational speeches. You want to motivate and move your team; the same way as powerful public speaker rouses the crowd. The Call to Action for management communication settings is more than a simple, catchy soundbite. You need to ensure commitment through strong engagement with your team.
One way of achieving this rapport is by simplifying or ‘beautifying’ your briefing, complex concepts, or even general sharing through analogies or illustrations. Help your team to paint a picture in their mind and play with their imagination to keep them engaged. Another method of ensuring your team’s commitment and buy-in is to re-emphasise a broad direction or goal at the end of your address. Steer the ship well by highlighting the path ahead for your team.
Lead Your Team Effectively!
Leading from the front is not easy – some of our clients in a similar position find trouble straddling the need to lead and the need to engage the team. Communication skills are but one of the effective ways you can use and introduce to your management style to balance both aspects. Be more than a loud, demanding, or un-moving boss and become that eloquent, persuasive and compelling speaker with our communication tips today!
If you’re keen to take your public speaking & presentation skills (either business/corporate presentation or kids in-class presentation) to the next level so that you may public speak and present with flair and charisma, feel free to check out our offerings below!
For more about our Public Speaking Course for Adults :
For more about our Public Speaking Course for Kids / Children: