I discuss oral communications in Chapter 7 of my new e-book, Leadership for New Managers: Book Two. (http://smashwords.com/b/300090, use coupon code WL23B for a free copy.) Most great leaders were great speakers (excluding Mosses, of course.) Here is part of Chapter 7:
B. Common Types of Oral Communications
1. Face to Face
Face to face communication is the appropriate medium for delegating tasks, coaching, counseling, mentoring, disciplining, teaching/training, sharing information, answering questions, checking progress, and maintaining relationships. Leader/managers also spend time one-on-one with their boss, colleagues, and peers. Leader/managers should remove barriers to oral communications. In an
office setting, arrange the furniture to encourage open dialogue. Arrangements that place a desk between the leader and associate are not conducive to oral communications. If it is not practical to move the desk, then leaders can move from behind the desk when meeting face-to-face.
The amount of time spent on the telephone will vary with the job. It is appropriate for sharing bits of information in a quick exchange and for checking up on things. It is not appropriate for discipline.
a. Voice Mail
I am always amazed to hear unprofessional answering machine messages. It gives a bad impression. Leader/managers should have professional answering machine messages or use the canned messages that come with the system. The same goes for leaving messages. Always state your name and leave a telephone number up front. If the answering machine cuts off the message, the key information is there. Do not assume that the person you are calling will recognize your voice or have your number handy. The rest of your message then follows. Return calls promptly--within 24 hours. Unreturned calls or playing phone tag frustrate and annoy callers.
Leader/managers should always identify themselves when answering the telephone. That way the
caller knows that they have the right person on the phone.
b. Cellular telephones
Using a cell phone requires certain etiquette. Leader/managers follow it. As a rule, people should place their cell phones in the silent mode during meeting. Leader/managers move to a place of privacy, if possible, to take calls. Cell phones now take e-mail message so that people are in instant contact with each other at all times.
3. Office Meeting
Leader/managers often use their offices for meetings. Leader/managers should pay attention to
how they decorate their offices. It says a lot about a leader. I once visited an investment firm and in several offices, there were large, framed pictures of a million dollars of twenty-dollar bills stacked up. What does this say about what the values of that firm? Pictures of family and other decorative items should indicate a leader’s values. Leaders/managers should avoid having such things as
bars, alcohol, and religious artifacts. Exceptions do exist, of course.