Time for some hands-on learning!
The learning is in your hands today, and the lesson is transparency. If you choose to read on, you’ll pick up a few tips about being a transparent communicator and then you’ll get a chance to practice what you learn.
But first, what do I mean by transparency anyway? It’s kind of a buzzword, right? Well, transparency in communications comes in two forms—informational and emotional. It’s about being open and real with news and information as well as with feelings and reactions.
Here are 3 tips for being a more transparent communicator:
1. Let your audiences know what they can expect or what they’re going to get from you. Spell out your “win” – or your desired outcome – in the opening seconds of your meetings and presentations. Tell your audiences what you want them to think, or know or do by the end.
2. Pay attention to crises and criticisms, but don’t necessarily run from them or fight back. There may be some important truths you want to stand by or back up. Be open to owning the situation, whether bad or good. It scores big reputational points for credibility and trust.
3. Audiences are smart. Scrutiny and skepticism can be harsh. Be as open, honest, and forthright as you can. Your audiences will see through you no matter what. So be real. It’s easier on you and always much appreciated by them.
Now I turn it over to you!
Choose one of the following two exercises and see how it feels to try a more transparent approach:
- Think about the lowest or weakest point in your business or professional life. What was it?
What aspect of it makes you feel vulnerable or uncomfortable to talk about? Can you come up with a way to discuss or address it in an open and direct way?
- Have you ever had to answer questions about a business problem or crisis? What happened?
Write down the questions you remember and practice answering them with transparency in both information and emotion. Make notes about your answers if that would be helpful.
[Excerpted in part from Jock Talk: 5 Communication Principles for Leaders as Exemplified by Legends of the Sports World, www.jocktalkbook.com]