Learning Hub
Ben Davern

Ben Davern

9th Feb 2024

Related Articles

Before Organisations Can Benefit from AI, Leaders must get the Culture Question Right
AI Regulation is Essential, But Europe’s Innovation Capacity is Potentially Being Stifled

The 7 Principles of Communicating for Performance

Effective communication is a critical leadership skill that can significantly impact professional performance. Whether you’re presenting in a boardroom, engaging in a one-on-one conversation or negotiating with colleagues, the ability to communicate effectively and persuasively can make the difference between success and missed opportunities. In this article, we’ll explore seven strategies to enhance your communication skills and drive better performance in the workplace.

1. The Art of Listening

Before you can communicate effectively with others, you must become an effective listener. This may sound simple, but in practice it requires full concentration and the discipline to avoid interruptions. While active listening requires plenty of time and effort, the benefits of active listening are immense; it fosters mutual respect, encourages open dialogue and provides you with valuable insights to inform your responses.

2. Asking the Right Questions

Active listening empowers you to ask the right questions, which will have a significant impact on your communication efforts. By seeking clarification and understanding, you not only demonstrate your engagement but also enhance your comprehension of the subject matter. Through paying close attention to the speaker and formulating thoughtful questions, these questions can lead to more productive discussions and yield better outcomes.

3. Speaking with Clarity and Confidence

Speaking confidently is a crucial aspect of effective communication. While not everyone is naturally comfortable when presenting or engaging in one-on-one conversations, there are techniques you can employ to overcome nerves and convey your message with clarity and assurance, such as practice and self-assessment. The value is two-fold: confidence in your communication not only instils trust in your audience but also ensures that your message is heard and understood.

4. Adapting in the Moment

In dynamic situations, such as presentations or discussions, you may encounter tough questions or unexpected challenges. Effective communicators excel in these moments by employing techniques that provide clarity, allow time for thoughtful responses, and maintain an appropriate tone. Overcoming nerves and addressing tough questions confidently can significantly enhance your performance.

5. Beyond Words: The Importance of Body Language

Communication isn’t solely about the words you use. You are constantly providing visual clues to your listeners through body language, facial expressions and gestures. Perfecting your non-verbal communication skills is crucial for conveying your message effectively and building rapport with your audience. Take note of your behaviours and the nonverbal messages you could be sending. By practicing self-awareness, you will know which behaviours to watch for and which you need to focus on practicing the most in order to communicate more holistically.

6. The Psychology of Influence

To become a top communicator, it’s essential to understand the psychology of influence. Recognising the triggers of influence, such as reciprocity and commitment, will make you a better judge of how your communication is received by others. Whether you’re seeking buy-in for a project or presenting a persuasive argument, mastering these triggers can help you achieve your goals. Through studying human behaviour and adapting your communication strategies accordingly, you will increase your ability to influence and persuade effectively.

7. The Art of Negotiation

Many business communications require collaboration and negotiation. Understanding the motivations of your counterparts and identifying areas of mutual benefit are critical techniques for successful negotiations. Effective negotiation skills can lead to win-win outcomes and significantly contribute to your overall performance. Preparation, active listening and strategic thinking during negotiations are key components of achieving favourable outcomes and building the positive relationships essential for business success.


Communicating for performance is a multifaceted capability that requires practice and continuous improvement. It involves a combination of listening, questioning, speaking with confidence, adapting in the moment, utilising body language, understanding the psychology of influence and excelling in negotiation. By honing these seven key aspects of communication, you can significantly enhance your performance and become a more valuable asset in your professional endeavours. Remember, effective communication isn’t just about what you say; it’s about how you say it and how well you connect with others. This is the essence of IMI’s Communicating for Performance programme, now enrolling for March 2024.


Elevate Your Communication Game with IMI’s Communicating for Performance Programme, now enrolling for March 2024: https://www.imi.ie/product/communicating-for-performance/ 

Did you enjoy reading this article?