The Point: Communication (excellent communication to be precise) is the most distinguishable trait of true leaders. Poor communication not only can end your career as a C-suite executive, but can cost your business significant dollars every year. If you think that a lack of communication is what is keeping your company in shackles, here a list of 10 quick tips about leadership communication that you can incorporate in your leadership… Enjoy!
#1 The Person Behind the Title
True leadership is not when people follow you for your position in the organizational hierarchy, but for your personal integrity and vision. So be humble, deliver your vision with stories (they can be personal stories as well), and don’t forget to keep a sense of humor. In communication skills training for leaders, we work on these exact skills. Bottom line… Let those you lead see you as the person you are, not the one your trying to be!
#2 Know Your Audience
Great leaders know how to deliver their message to different audiences without altering the message in the process. Likewise, they also know the unique personalities of everyone on their team so they can utilize their skills to customize delivery to the fullest potential. Practice makes perfect in leadership development. Bottom line… Customize your message based on the audience your interacting with.
#3 Interaction, Not Dictation
Great leaders know how to generate audience feedback during a lecture or speech, so that everyone is listening attentively. Think of it as an engagement level that you’re trying to get your audience to participate with you actively. Bottom line… If you want better communication with your audience, get them to listen to your message by engaging them.
#4 Give Up the Jargon
There is a popular saying attributed to Einstein: ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough’. While this may not be an all-encompassing principle for leadership communication, it can help you explain why a meeting, keynote, or coffee conversation failed: the audience simply didn’t get what you were trying to say. Bottom line… Strive for clarity, and avoid using technical language (where you can) or overcomplicating your message unless necessary.
#5 A Great Opening
In both speeches and publications, it the opening that determines whether the audience will continue following or not. So make sure to create a strong opening and follow it through with succinct, to-the -point comments, and memorable information. Bottom line… Start of in the direction you want with power (Oh yeah, you might want to practice as well!)
#6 Avoid Negativity
Studies in psychology have shown that negative words like ‘no’ and ‘cannot’ have a toxic effect on the human brain. They not only demotivate your employees, but also ward off prospective clients. Bottom line… Make positivity your mantra flow from your words.
#7 Take Responsibility
If anything goes wrong in your organization, it is you that has to take responsibility. Whether in addressing any audience, publishing a retraction, or sending an apology email if you said it initially (or someone in your organization did), then it’s your “baby” to rock. Bottom line… Assure people that no matter what happens, you are in control through your actions and words.
#8 Work on Your Body Language
Remember that verbal communication accounts for less than 10% of what you actually convey. Bottom line… Make sure that you are paying attention to your facial and body gestures as you speak.
#9 Listen More, Speak Less
Two ears, one mouth… You can see where this leadership communication tip is going, right? This cannot be stressed enough. When you listen to your employees, partners, and audiences, you not only get different perspectives on business issues, but you also make them feel valuable. Bottom line… Spend more time listening for effective leadership communication.
Finally, learn to empathize. CEOs, for instance, are typically seen as unapproachable. Change that. Bottom line… Communicate with empathy and care. You will ultimately see “loyalty” increase in the people around you.
True leadership communication skills involve building personal trust and rapport with your audience, and conveying your message with clarity, in a way that they truly understand. The old adage of “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them” will only go so far (But it’s a great model to follow!) Follow these 10 Quick Tips to Improve Your Leadership Communication for success!