Communication skills are at the crosshairs of success. Whether your communication is done verbally or virtually, your ability to do it effectively, and with influence, will determine your success or failure. Research shows that 80 percent of people feel that they could achieve better results if they were able to communicate better. Millions of companies, small and large, experience communication problems on a regular basis, but in most cases, a simple shift in focus does the trick.
If you find that your communication is no longer influential, and it’s often missing its intended target, the solution is simple: It’s called the LASER model, which is unique because its focus is internal. The starting point for effective communication is within us. What happens if you initially focus externally rather than internally? Well, it’s like operating your business without a business plan; achieving anything – even nothing – is acceptable. In order to truly achieve influential communication, you must focus internally first, pointing the LASER at yourself … here’s how:
Listen – Listen to the environment you are in and listen to your own thoughts. Is it so noisy that you can’t hear yourself think? The key to successful internal communication starts with peace and quiet. Shut your office door, find an empty cubicle, take that walk around the building, and locate a place where you can hear yourself think. You want to be able to hear your best thoughts!
Ask questions – Ask yourself the questions that count for the conversation you are going to have: What do you want the end result to be? What will it look like? How will you feel when you accomplish it? These are the easy questions to ask and answer! However, in order to be truly influential, you need to ask the difficult ones by aiming dead center! What will it look like if my communication is ineffective and we don’t realize the end result? Where might we come up short of our goal? What will it look like then? How will you feel when you don’t accomplish it? Get uncomfortable when you ask these tough questions. The more uncomfortable you feel, the better the results will be.
Silence – Yeah, that’s right! The third step is to sit in silence and listen to the answers that come to you. Don’t interject your opinions on the results you receive. This will be difficult! Instead, just be quiet and listen to the results as they flow forth from asking those difficult questions. Make certain that you write them down; they’ll come to you fast and furious so keep track of them. Use shorthand if necessary. You need to be able to recall them when you are done.
Erase the past – There is a reason why the rear-view mirror is smaller than the windshield in a car; it’s crucial that you see more of where you’re going than where you’ve been! We steer toward where we look, or aim, our focus. Unfortunately with communication, we let our thoughts of how things went in the past dictate how things will go in the future. If we are always focusing on where we’ve been, rather than where we are going, we’re liable to encounter some obstacles head on, making future successful communication either unlikely or impossible. The past has a way of “clouding” our vision, making our current communications not the best that they could be. Instead, we need to future-focus on what we want to occur!
Realize the Future – You have yourself in position to listen without the noise and clutter that usually surrounds each of us. You’ve made yourself uncomfortable by asking questions that dug deep into what you are trying to accomplish. You’ve moved out of your own way and answered those uncomfortable questions. You’re future-focused on the target ahead. Lastly, determine who needs to hear what it is you have to say and layout how you will say it! The time, place or medium you choose to communicate in may change, but the message will not. In order to realize the future, you must be strategic not only with what you say, but also with whom you say it to!
What results will you achieve when you use the influential communication LASER model? You’ll have an influential edge in becoming the best leader you can be, making your best decisions and achieving your best results. However, implementing only the internal communication habits will still cause you to miss your target. Why? The influential leader combines these internal communication habits with the external communication discipline necessary in order to achieve truly influential communication.
So the next time you communicate, remember to first focus internally before communicating externally. As a result, you will achieve success!