Consider the statement “Bond. James Bond.” The timing, the inflection, the impact: would that we could leave such an impression when stating our own name or the brand of our company…
Can your management team state the purpose of your organisation with such confidence and panache?
We all know the negative impact of a limp handshake: but have we assessed that of a limp sentence? Those first few words are so essential, whoever your audience is – that any leadership team needs to be aware, and practice, how they speak.
Communications skills are at the heart of effective leadership. Research has demonstrated that leaders spend over 75% of their time communicating – however, few are trained on how to optimise this essential leadership skill.
Know your audience – It seems so obvious, but is seldom practised. To make matters worse, many a speaker fails to engage with their audience. It is natural to speak within your field of expertise and experience, but it is also lazy. The impact is always greater if you relate to what is important and personally pertinent to the listener.
Monitor the say-do gap – Your behaviour is the greatest mode of communication. Ensure that your actions are always aligned with the messages and guidance you give.
Use your own language – Find your own voice: one that distinctly reflects your own style and character. Let your values emerge from your communication. Genuine sincerity deserves and wins respect and trust.
Address each individual in the room – Whether at a conference table or a crowded auditorium, great leaders are those who make every single person feel as if he or she is being spoken to directly.
Active listening – You will make a great communicator if you pay attention to what other people say. Don’t think ahead and plan what to say next when someone is talking. Instead, listen actively and focus on understanding the other person’s perspective. They will always prefer a conversation to a statement or announcement.
Admit your mistakes – When you make a mistake, admit it right away. Don’t wait for someone else to find and point out an error.
Be proactive – Share good and bad news in a timely manner. Give clear, concise messages and relevant goals to people.
Be visible, be personal – You could e-communicate, but it is no substitute for face-to-face communication. People need to be personally connected with you because it shows that you care about them and their work.
Leaders succeed by influencing others, and those leaders who have consciously learnt how to effectively communicate will excel – to their personal career benefit and to aid the success of their organisations.
Practice Head, Leadership Development