Advanced Communication Skills

Welcome to the Advanced Communication Skills course. I am confident that this will be an interesting learning experience for you.

 

Advocacy

Understanding the importance of Advanced Communication Techniques

Communication skills are perceived to be common and little wonder you will observe that most people include in their CVs that they have communication skills. Communication is one of the most important skill set required by executives to succeed. The primary objective of communication is to bring about a required action or change by the user and you will agree with me that if executives are able to bring about the actions or changes they desire in people 100% of the time, they will be more successful that imagined.

Communicating to get result is one of the most important tasks of executives. It is important to mention that successful communicators are emotionally intelligent. We will be able to connect communication and emotional intelligence in the course of this learning session.

Today, we will be discussing advanced communication techniques which are required for executives to succeed in their roles.

Advocacy, inquiry, story-telling, commitment discussions, giving and receiving feedback are some of the advanced techniques we will be discussing today.

What is Advocacy?

Advocacy is the process of persuading your listeners to accept your position on an issue or subject. It will interest you to know that as executives, we advocate on a regular basis, either for a new product or when presenting a solution to a client. Most executives get by in advocacy by luck, particularly when the receiving party likes what is being advocated for or pushed forward. It is however important to get by in advocacy 100% of the time through careful use of communication skills.

Bad Advocacy Scenario

Let's have a look at the example. Consider the following conversation between a Project Manager and an End User. Watch out for the advocacy pitfalls (if you can recognize them).

In the scenario, what should the Project Manager do?

  • Share the importance and objective of the project with Leena
  • Explain the context and give a relevant example that resonates with Leena
  • Continue to maintain his position despite Leena's objections
  • Label Leena as a blocker

Advocating Effectively

How can I advocate more effectively? Since advocacy is persuasion for acceptance of a position or line of thought, openness is key. As long as your listeners don’t feel like you are shoving an idea down their throats, you have a great chance. The following tactics will help:

1. Share your data, reasoning and goals

During advocacy, sharing your data, line of thought and goals will help your listeners see things from your own perspective. They will be more relaxed and poised to accept your advocacy if they understand reasons behind it.

2. Share your assumptions

If there are gaps in your data/reasoning and you have made some assumptions, please feel free to share with your listeners. It further reinforces your openness and adds to the completeness of your data and reasoning.

3. Explain the context and give examples of your proposition

Giving a broader background and circumstance(s) under which your proposed position will work helps your audience understand the importance of your proposition. Your position may be further accepted if you are able to give an example that this relevant to your organisation, environment or individuals.

4.  Invite your audience to add to your idea

With such an invitation, your audience feels like a part of the solution development when they have some things to add. While you may not want to change major parts of your position, it is a good tactic to accept some of their suggestions especially in a difficult stakeholder management situation. However, if you find that there are significant contributions from your audience that will help you achieve your goals better, it is totally acceptable to make major changes to your position – as long as your goal is achieved within acceptable frameworks.

Good Advocacy Scenario

Congrats!

Thanks for completing the course! Go on and become an advocacy champion!