Using direct communication to build trust and loyalty
When Martin Luther King had a dream and he wanted to inspire everyone to share it, he didn’t just fire off a few emails. He got in front of as many people as he could, and he shared that dream directly.
But sometimes, getting the leaders and the people together in one room isn’t so easy, and this is where conference calls and group online meetings can help foster great communication. In a Forbes online post on communication secrets of great leaders, contributor Mike Myatt identified the key communication techniques leaders use to inspire people. Every single one of them, from creating trust to active listening, is something that conference calls are perfect for. Group calling really excels at helping leaders reach out to every single person in an organization, and break down the barriers between the corner office and the shop floor. Too often, company leaders only move in the same limited pathways of upper management.
Unfortunately, vital information can have trouble filtering up to leadership, and inspiration can have trouble filtering down.
A group online meeting really knits an organization together like nothing else.
Why teleconferencing is the perfect communication tool for leaders
Conference calls are an excellent way to promote good communication in any organization or business because they enable:
Regular communication. Too many meetings don’t happen because the basic cost of getting people together is so high. This is even truer when trying to connect a busy CEO with the rank and file. 120 people all picking up their phone at the same time is free.
Quality communication. Emails and memos are great tools for setting up communication events, and for document sharing, but they just don’t cut it for the actual heart-to-heart of communication.
Conference calls offer four things that make communication better.
- Clear sound: better than VoIP or Skype calls. No robots!
- Tone of voice: you can hear the subtle, human, communication details.
- Instant feedback: the ability to respond. “Excuse me, who is that Elephant in the room?”
- Respect for everyone’s time: no traipsing around to meetings, just pick up the phone!
4 principles of great communication for leaders
Create trust by getting personal and showing empathy. A conference call is the perfect place to put your own personal expression into communication with employees, because it is a medium where the subtle nuances can be heard. Qualities like confidence, passion, and belief are best communicated directly, and they don’t translate in emails. If an employee tells a story about something that is bothering them at work, they will be able to hear the empathy in a leader’s voice as the leader takes the time to acknowledge what employees are going through.
Active listening; dialogue not monologue. Dialogue is so much better than monologue, because it shows respect as a two way street. Leaders can sometimes forget that they need to earn the respect that goes with their position every day. Active listening during a conference call will send a message not only to the one person who is being heard, but also to everyone else on the call, and earn a leader a lot of respect.
Focus on the employee’s needs. All too often leaders concentrate on what they need, and try to talk employees into doing something for them. This is “being the boss”, but it isn’t really “leadership”. Leadership is actually a healthy dose of service, and great leaders know that if they want to inspire, there has to be something in it for each and every person listening. Because a group online meeting offers direct feedback, good leaders can gauge whether the employees have understood the benefits implied in the message.
Have an open mind and be flexible. Emails and memos aren’t very flexible. You can’t change your mind once you hit send, and you can’t alter the contents in response to feedback. A group online meeting or video chat is the way to show your open mind and flexibility, because if someone brings up an important point you hadn’t thought of, you can include it in the discussion. Imagine how an employee would feel if their CEO said “Great idea, let’s run with it”, in front of the rest of the company?
Have one source of truth. Although using more than one communication channel can improve employee engagement, you should always have a single source of truth. You can use all kinds of solutions in your manager's toolkit so long as your employees know what platform has the most up-to-date facts. For example, if you tell your staff a deadline changed on a project during a meeting, you should send a mass email and update the project deadline on your project management software. This eliminates confusion and increases productivity.
Demonstrating an open mind is a great way of building trust.
Getting your dream across
Whatever your dream is, if you are in a position of leadership, direct communication is the best way to light a fire in people to join up. Conference calls and group online meetings are a fantastic way to create an environment where leaders can make meaningful connections. They are convenient to set up, they respect everyone’s time, and they enable the active listening and dialogue that solves problems and builds trust.