Communication for the Next Level

This first week of the new year we are featuring some of our tops posts on Women of HR. Enjoy!

So often, when people vent their frustration about the boss, or the C-suite, I hear about how hard they work, how much they give, and how much they do not feel they are appreciated by those they work for. The gender factor accentuates it further because research confirms the male and female brains process what was said in emotionally different ways.

If you want to deal with it, read on.

The reality is I am learning that communication is a key factor in getting to the next level – especially if you want leadership to understand how you and your team are performing.  And, you have a nano-second to spit it out for your audience in a way that they understand it. I find, all too often, that people are communicating their information from their own point of view to the audience and that is a career limiting and fatal error.

If you want to move up into management, or move into a senior leadership role, here is some advice on evaluating your style to ensure it is working for, and not against, you:

  1. Become self aware of your communication style and work on improving it (no one is perfect on this topic)
  2. Seek out people you trust before your next presentation and preview it to assure your are speaking to the audience’s need versus your own (Coaches are everywhere and happy to help – have you asked?)
  3. Read a book or two on the topic from some of the great thought leaders of our time. Two that I recommend are The Next Level: What Insiders Know about Executive Success  and The Power of Framing: Creating the Language of Leadership. 

The Next Level is a great handbook to have around. It’s a reference book with real-life stories that any manager or rising executive could relate to and I find myself referring back to it often. The main point of the book is to remind high achievers that what got you here is not what will get you to the next level. It identifies what behaviors and capabilities you need to shed, and what skills you need to pick up to perform well at the next level.

The Power of Framing is about communication, communication styles and how to hone in and frame up your message to speak to the audience’s need. It does an excellent job of bringing you through the dynamic of learning why that aspect of communication at an executive level (or really any level) is so important.

These are a few suggestions that have worked for me.

How about you? What are you doing to improve your communication style to get ready for the next level?

About the Author

Debbie Brown

Debbie Brown is a Senior Sales Executive in Analytics, Software and Services . The majority of her career has been spent managing people and teams in software and services provided to the HR industry. Debbie enjoys sharing leadership best practices and as an avid reader is always happy to share great book recommendations. You can connect with Debbie on Twitter as @DebbieJBrown.



I am working for a startup, managing a lot of HR at the moment, as well as communicating with all levels of employees. Thanks for your book recommendations on communication, I think they’re going to be very helpful!


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