When you are running a business or overseeing people, it’s easy to fall into the trap of talking AT people. Talking AT people is what many mediocre business Leaders do.
When you talk AT someone you are essentially barking out instructions, demands or some course of action you’d like someone to take. There is no opportunity for feedback, no back and forth, no discussion, no brainstorming. It’s a one way conversation that puts up a Stop Sign for discussion.
Talking AT people is efficient, but not effective communication.
Talking TO people, on the other hand, is what successful Leaders do. When you talk TO someone you are engaging them. You are having a conversation with them. You are seeking their feedback, input, ideas.
Talking TO people is effective communication but not efficient communication. It takes more time to talk TO someone than to talk AT someone.
The most successful Leaders are able to combine effective communication with efficient communication. They use small, unambiguous words that do not insult, offend or agitate (the efficient part). At the same time, they leave the door open for feedback by ending with a simple question or statement: “what do you think?” or “if there’s a better way let me know.” (the effective part).
It’s science bordering on art, which requires practice in order for it to become a Leadership Habit.
When you are a good communicator, things get done the right way, the first time, which saves the company time and money.
When you are a bad communicator, things often go awry due to misunderstandings or doing things incorrectly, which costs the company time and money.