We’re on the verge of a brand-new era in business. Covid-19 precautions are loosening. Some team members are heading back into the office, while others opt to remain virtual. But no matter where these employees choose to work, there’s a very high probability that they are exhausted and frazzled. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t be? The last 15 months were like a roller coaster in a haunted house with no exit door. Until now.
As we make our way into the new normal, what does that mean for you as a leader?
I believe one of the biggest challenges and opportunities will be adjusting the way you communicate with your team members. Never before have so many things been competing for their time and attention. There are limits to their conscious brain bandwidth, and many of them reached overload months ago. If you want to break through that clutter to engage and inspire your team, you’ll need to shake things up.
Instead of following conventional guidelines, you may increase your success by applying some modern strategies. Here are three examples from my award-winning book, Leadership Unchained: Defy Conventional Wisdom for Breakthrough Performance.
1. Modern leaders don’t just communicate; they create an experience.
Today’s pioneering leaders have learned to think about the process of communicating in a new way—one that’s better suited to the fast-paced, always-on world. They know that success isn’t measured by the information transferred; it’s based on the experience created.
That’s the secret. It’s not about the information. It’s not about the quantity of facts shared. It’s about the experience they provide.
With that in mind, they focus on the message instead of the data. They peel away all the layers of complexity that have been clogging up their communication and get down to messages that are authentic and engaging. They present them in novel ways. And they aren’t afraid to open a window into their motives and rationale.
These modern leaders also move beyond the need to inform and impress. They understand the importance of communicating to inspire their teams and help them envision the future. They make that a priority. And when they incorporate that broader, deeper, and more authentic brand of communication, they create memorable experiences that genuinely resonate with their teams.
2. Modern leaders don’t just present facts; they tell stories.
An article in Psychology Today described a unique experiment that used MRIs to monitor human brain activity as people consumed different types of information. Certain parts of the participants’ brains would “light up” when they read a newspaper article. Other parts were activated when they looked at a painting or heard someone reading a technical document.
But when the facilitator started to tell a story, brain activity increased in multiple areas—auditory, visual, sensory, reasoning, emotions. The findings proved that we use much more of our brains when we are listening to a story. Additional studies showed that we are 6-7 times more likely to remember information if it is presented in story form.
That’s an important secret weapon for leaders who want to create a better experience and communicate with more meaningful messages. Stories draw us in like nothing else.
Modern leaders have learned the wisdom and value of telling stories as a regular part of their communication. It’s a brilliant way to capture imagination and invite their audiences to join them on a mental journey.
3. Modern leaders are intentional about bringing their messages to life.
Modern leaders take the time to craft messages that are simple, concise, and compelling. Understandably, that requires more effort, but it’s essential if they want to communicate in a way that is clutter-busting, brain-activating, and impact-making.
They start by developing their communication to include laser-focused messages. They bring those to life using smart imagery and visual support. And then they deliver their messages with authenticity and professionalism to maximize impact. One-on-one. In a team huddle. Through video. They strategically choose the best delivery method to connect with the audience and successfully transfer the critical information.
As these strategies demonstrate, winning at the communication game in the post-pandemic business environment requires a vastly different approach than it did just two years ago. Modern leaders are recognizing that and, more importantly, acknowledging that the conventional principles and traditional wisdom of business communication are now less effective. However, through their willingness to crawl out of the communication rut and apply these new strategies, they are expanding their professional influence and competing at a higher level.
What are you doing to up your communication game in this new business era? I’d love to hear about your experiences.