Communicating For Leadership Effectiveness

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These Speaking Skills are a Must for Modern Leaders

Recently as I was browsing through my newsfeed on LinkedIn, a post by Adit Rahim caught my eye. Prompted by his experience at a recent conference, he asked, “Are we effective speakers? Or are people just listening to us because they have no choice?[1] ”

His post made me wonder, too. Are today’s leaders able to communicate effectively? Do today’s leaders effectively convey their ideas, instructions, vision, and concerns to their teams? How many leaders talk at their employees rather than with them?

These are questions every leader should be asking because successful leadership requires guiding others toward the achievement of shared goals.

Effective leadership requires effective communication.

In Business Mentor: Developing Leadership Skills for Better Employee Engagement, Armando Bartolome quotes former Apple CEO Gil Amelio, writing that “if a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.”

A leader’s strength comes from the strength of his or her team and the ability to muster that strength. Yet, a recent article in CIO, 6 Executive Communication Tips for C-Suite Success by Sarah K. White, notes that sometimes strong employees are promoted to leadership positions without having mastered the requisite communication skills to best handle the job.

These bosses talk, but fail to communicate. Staff members may hear the words, but not the message. This lack of communication can lead to failed initiatives, lost productivity, and low morale.

That all sounds pretty bad.

What about you?

Are you in a leadership position?

Are you harnessing the full power of your team?

Improving your communication skills to empower your organization.

If you’ve never received formal training in public speaking, management communications, or active listening, you may be missing a key component for leadership success.

Fortunately, we can fix that.

While there are many ways to improve your communication skills, one fun and fast way to do so is to practice professional speaking.

How can studying professional speaking help? I may be a bit biased (Hi, I’m Kit, professional speaker and communication instructor), but many of the traits you learn to speak on stage are important off stage too.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Credible storytelling -- This article on internal communication strategies by Brandon Rigoni and Jim Asplund, writing for Gallup’s Business Journal, says that your credibility matters when sharing information. Storytelling plays an important role as well.

Hmm… authenticity and storytelling. Where have I heard those elements mentioned before

Active listening -- Listening to your audience is just as important as speaking to them. Harvard Business Review’s Rebecca Knight emphasizes the importance of being a good listener in How to Work with a Bad Listener.

You can’t engage someone’s attention if you have no idea what interests them. The way to learn about someone else is through active listening.

Focused communication -- In casual conversations it is okay to let the discussion go in any direction. But a professional speech needs to begin with a final destination, or point, in mind and each part of that speech should move the audience toward that destination. Likewise, leaders must communicate the end goal to their team.

This isn’t as easy as it seems. Professional speakers learn to move a story along and to use language that is clear and understandable.

Let’s connect and communicate.

Use these tips and, hopefully, you’ll never end up as the example of what not to do in someone’s LinkedIn post. If you’d like to see my daily tips and advice about professional communications and networking, follow me on LinkedIn!