Through effective communication, we are able to build relationships, express our thoughts and emotions, and achieve our goals. Communication can also be a source of struggle, particularly when misunderstandings or misinterpretations occur. Whether you're an academic researcher, a business leader, a technical specialist, or an innovator in your field, being know as the "expert" comes with its challenges. As an 'expert', when business leaders and consultants do not understand you, it is maddening. Check out this humorous, short sketch which illustrates this very type of circular discussion. These challenges can arise due to differences in culture, language, or communication style, and can often lead to frustration, conflict, and even breakdowns in relationships.
In order to overcome these challenges, it is important to convey messages in a clear and concise manner, ask good questions, and use active listening. By doing so, we can foster stronger connections and avoid communication breakdowns that can hinder our professional relationships.
The 'expert' in the room can take the power back by leading more assertively and building 1:1 relationships with these individuals.
1. Using assertive facilitation
Assertive facilitation requires you to interrupt them, use your hands, write in the chat room, mute them, share your screen, or put the room in virtual breakouts to silence them more. Is that the wish? To keep them quiet or convince them?
The 'expert' in the room in the video shared above does a great job of being simple in the responses without being disrespectful. The comedy is that the people never realize they are being ridiculous. Work on being as direct and clear as possible in your responses.
2. Building 1:1 relationships with these individuals
Building relationships requires you to understand people's purpose, passion, and dreams. Are you taking time to get know your colleagues on a more personal level? What do they like to do outside of work? What drives them to do better work? What aspirations do they have for the future?
While these questions may not appear to directly impact the task at hand, these conversations can go a long way in building trust and deepening your relationships. This process takes time. Build on every conversation and eventually you will be perceived as the 'trusted advisor'.
Which option energizes you more? Are both exhausting to you?
Both options are great leadership development opportunities and can make the difference between clarity and connection versus confusion.
by Stephanie Bickel
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