Communications is one of the most important effective leadership traits and probably one of the most overlooked. The ability to communicate to your employees, business partners, the media and your customers is incredibly important. It’s not just about getting your message out,Why Leaders Need to be Great Communicators. but getting the right message out and to the right people.

Great communicators can often achieve greater results than great project managers. Being able to position your message and accomplishments is incredibly important to others. Effective communications can lead to greater productivity, more concise meetings, a greater understanding of goals and less ambiguity. Here are five steps to ensuring you’re communicating the right message.

  1. Identification. Who are you specifically talking to? This is incredibly important when talking to customers or future business partners. Identifying your audience will help you tailor your message both in tone and content.
  2. Focus. Keep your communication relevant and stay on topic. Focus on your strategy and goals. Providing extraneous details can cause your audience to stray and question their involvement.
  3. Listen. That may sound counter-intuitive, but part of communicating effectively is listening to your audience. What are their concerns? What non-verbal cues are they giving you? Reading between the lines and listening to your audience can often be a more effective means of communication.
  4. Participate. This goes hand-in-hand with listening. If there is something you don’t understand, ask questions. Get the information you need so you can communicate effectively.
  5. Evaluate. The key to effective leadership is often evaluation. Communication is no different. Examine what you’ve done and how you can do it better. Was your communication effective? Did you get what you wanted? Don’t be afraid to admit your communication was less than effective

Overall remember why you need to communicate your message. You’re not going to become an effective communicator overnight, no matter how many books you read. Great communication comes with practice, so get out there and start implementing tactics to get your communicating better.

Read more: