Editor’s note: “The Angel Connection” is a regular feature in WRAL Local Tech Wire. LTW asked consultant Bill Warner to share advice for entrepreneurs seeking angel investors and/or venture capital investment. He is chairman of the Triangle Accredited Capital Forum, an angel investor network with over 100 members throughout the Southeast.

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Over 80 percent of our waking life is spent either sending or receiving information. The ability to communicate effectively at work and in our personal lives is perhaps the most critical skill for everyone, especially the CEO. The ability to communicate, to pass on ideas, discovery, experiences and feelings, has allowed the advancement of the human race. Poor communication leads to poor performance, yet it is common in the workplace. Luckily, communication skills can be improved and the more effective the communication, the better the overall performance and therefore the greater the level of business success.

Some CEOs don’t realize that communication is a two-way process. In addition to getting your own message across, it is also important to listen to and understand what others have to say, a technique known as "active listening."

But an even more important communication skill that is often overlooked by CEOs was expressed best by Peter Drucker, “The most important thing in communications is to hear what isn’t being said.” Effective communication allows CEOs to use all the other skills they have to their fullest. The ability to motivate, delegate, organize, solve problems, and obtain information all rely on the ability to communicate effectively with others.

Effective Communications Brings Business Results

Evidence suggests that bad communication is probably the cause of most of the problems people encounter at work. It starts with an unclear company vision, gets worse because of ambiguous personal objectives, and is exacerbated by a company culture that evolves rather than being set by the clear communications of the chief executive. Jack Welch, the past CEO of GE said it best, “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.”

Effective communication can transform how well people work. Imagine an organization in which everyone is kept informed, knows exactly what to do, and has all the information necessary to do their job. The effective CEO fosters teamwork, empowers key employees with responsibility and authority, and communicates key information to the organization. These CEOs not only use effective communication, but they also gain employee buy-in to the vision and objectives, build employee confidence in the company and create respect for the management team.

Setting a culture of sharing knowledge is critical to business success. If, rather than keeping quiet, people shared their knowledge with others, and problems were solved using everyone’s knowledge, skill development of less experienced people would dramatically increase. It would also allow more delegation and facilitate problem solving. The CEO who operates this way creates cohesive teams and builds uniqueness of purpose

Think of the effect it would have on the performance of your organization if culture drove everyone to feel motivated and empowered.

About the author: Bill Warner is the managing partner of Paladin and Associates, a business consulting firm in the Research Triangle Park area of central North Carolina, and is the chairman of the Triangle Accredited Capital Forum, an angel investor network with over one hundred members throughout the southeast.