April 16, 2020 By Calline Sanchez 3 min read

Communication skills are an important factor in business decisions and a driver of successful business outcomes. It’s not surprising, then, that good communication often tops the list of skills employers look for, no matter the job or industry. How well you communicate affects everything, from small interactions with coworkers to the closing of large deals. And it’s a critical skill area for leaders.

In the tech industry, when we think about skill development, better communication probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind, but in fact it’s crucial to everything we do in IBM IT infrastructure to help clients conquer demanding workloads and achieve success in their domains. IBM is a company built around the core values of dedication to every client’s success, innovation that matters — for our company and for the world, and trust and personal responsibility in all relationships. Good communication is at the heart of those values, and it’s needed at every level of our business.

Leadership is about human interaction, and that’s why communication is key. We work with human beings and look to mobilize a group of people together to collectively accomplish a mission or task. In everyday professional interactions — from meetings to sales opportunities to client technical engagements — stakeholders come together with different priorities, needs and interests. Good communication can help us take all those varied interests into account and make decisions that best serve our collective goals. We succeed when we listen well, offer valuable insights and make space for all voices to be heard.

Top communication skills for leaders

Be authentic. When a leader communicates with a team, it’s crucial to build conditions of trust. Building trust can bring an organization together and help teams move forward together. The conditions of trust are grounded in communication — be respectful, selfless, empathetic and clear. Provide a sense of purpose, fight for your people and do all of this with high ethical standards.

Listen more than you talk. Listening is a valuable skill to practice with colleagues and business associates as well as in personal relationships. Reflective listening refers to the ability to listen to someone and then reflect back that person’s point of view. It helps confirm what has been said and correct any miscommunications. In any situation where you’re trying to achieve shared goals, this kind of purposeful listening can facilitate mutual understanding and better outcomes.

Speak with purpose and add value to conversations. When it’s your turn to speak, offer thoughtful, prepared, well-organized, concise verbal communications. We’ve all been in meetings where some individuals talked too much or spoke without really adding value. Everyone can contribute to more thoughtful exchanges by thinking ahead, coming to meetings prepared and speaking only when we have something of value to add.

Make room for diverse voices. It’s well established that diversity boosts innovation and financial results. Throughout its history, IBM has been committed to including diverse voices at the table and has been recognized for its leadership in accelerating progress for women in the workplace, for example. (The team I lead is likewise committed to advancing gender equality.) Effective communication in a business requires making space for all voices to be heard — not just those with the most power.

The business payoff

Better communication produces more thoughtful insights into our pressing challenges, which in turn leads to better product engineering, strong technical engagements and more satisfied clients. When we apply these communication skills in interactions with customers, we no longer have to rely on data alone and can instead enable shared value creation that benefits everyone.

IBM IT infrastructure provides the foundation for many of the world’s largest companies, from top global banks to supercomputing centers for research. IBM servers, storage and software are designed to help these organizations conquer challenging workloads and extend the value of their existing investments. We empower clients by understanding their needs and serving as trusted advisors — and that begins and ends with effective communication. This is how we lead.

Was this article helpful?
YesNo

More from Cloud

A clear path to value: Overcome challenges on your FinOps journey 

3 min read - In recent years, cloud adoption services have accelerated, with companies increasingly moving from traditional on-premises hosting to public cloud solutions. However, the rise of hybrid and multi-cloud patterns has led to challenges in optimizing value and controlling cloud expenditure, resulting in a shift from capital to operational expenses.   According to a Gartner report, cloud operational expenses are expected to surpass traditional IT spending, reflecting the ongoing transformation in expenditure patterns by 2025. FinOps is an evolving cloud financial management discipline…

IBM Power8 end of service: What are my options?

3 min read - IBM Power8® generation of IBM Power Systems was introduced ten years ago and it is now time to retire that generation. The end-of-service (EoS) support for the entire IBM Power8 server line is scheduled for this year, commencing in March 2024 and concluding in October 2024. EoS dates vary by model: 31 March 2024: maintenance expires for Power Systems S812LC, S822, S822L, 822LC, 824 and 824L. 31 May 2024: maintenance expires for Power Systems S812L, S814 and 822LC. 31 October…

24 IBM offerings winning TrustRadius 2024 Top Rated Awards

2 min read - TrustRadius is a buyer intelligence platform for business technology. Comprehensive product information, in-depth customer insights and peer conversations enable buyers to make confident decisions. “Earning a Top Rated Award means the vendor has excellent customer satisfaction and proven credibility. It’s based entirely on reviews and customer sentiment,” said Becky Susko, TrustRadius, Marketing Program Manager of Awards. Top Rated Awards have to be earned: Gain 10+ new reviews in the past 12 months Earn a trScore of 7.5 or higher from…

IBM Newsletters

Get our newsletters and topic updates that deliver the latest thought leadership and insights on emerging trends.
Subscribe now More newsletters