I looked at a bottle of lotion today. I use it often but I read the label today. It said “20% more than 10 oz. bottle.” I looked at the weight of the bottle and showed 12 oz. That is 20% more than 10 oz. No false advertising here, but is it really advertisement worthy? The bottle doesn’t say anything more than this. The sentence is running across the top of the bottle. There is no mention of a value – paying for 10 oz. but getting 12 oz. There is no mention of taking on the standard size lotion bottle. Nothing but the statement.
My dad used to describe some people as “liking to hear themselves talk.” There wasn’t much substance to what someone was saying, but they sure had lots to say. The only way it made sense for that person to talk so much was that he/she liked the sound of his/her voice. As weak of a reason as that may be, it just may be the best explanation.
Substance is needed in our conversations. Too much fluff can fill our dialogues. We talk about inane things that don’t matter and don’t help us. As leaders, do we know what we’re saying and why we’re saying it? Is it simply being said because you feel as though something has to be said? That usually isn’t a great reason. In fact, it might be counter-productive because, first, it might water down anything of substance you do have to share in the future and, second, it might cause you to say more about something than you ought. The value of communication is a demonstrated leadership quality. Your team will get what you think about verbal communication when they hear and see what you’re doing with it.
The words themselves are not stupid, but rather, not thought through well. Take for instance a recent political election commercial. The woman running for office says that if elected, she would take medicare money from the US government for the state as opposed to the current official who is not. She makes this point and then says, “and that’s the kind of leader I will be.” I scratch my head. Is taking government medicare money a sign of leadership? That’s the correlation? Hmmmm. I’m not convinced. Sounds like fluff to me.
Simply, as leaders in our companies, we have to be thoughtful about our words. What is it we really want to communicate? Focus on that. Make cohesive dialogue. Share one point and connect it to the next in a sensible way. Help others follow your progression.
- Know what you want to communicate
- Think through how you want to communicate
- Clearly share the communication
I know it’s simple, but the amount of rhetoric and jargon we slip into can make our necessary communication with our team ineffective and off-putting. Take the time you need to gather your thoughts and share what you really want to share. I would really like to hear that communication!