Leadership is an interesting subject and, for those of us in leadership, we are constantly striving to improve. Effective leadership communication skills does not come naturally for most of us. What are some of the key elements? And, what are some actions that we can take to improve our ability to communicate? Here are 5 skills that I believe will Power Up your business activities and enhance impact on others.
5 Effective Leadership Communication Skills
The first thing is that we need to understand that people feel, before they hear. Think about it! What captivates you when you listen to someone? It is their ability to paint a picture, or to create a mental image, to which you can relate. Does your audience really believe what they are hearing and, more importantly, can they relate to your story. Our audience looks for our conviction and do we really practice what we preach. Our listeners look for our authenticity in order to establish evaluate our credibility and authority. People feel before they hear.
The second thing is to recognize that how we say something is more important than the words that we use. A friend offered this illustration recently: “Let’s eat, Grandma” is a fairly simple statement. Yet the inflection can change everything. “Let’s eat, Grandma” is an invitation for grandma to join us for a meal. “Let’s EAT grandma” is fodder for a Stephen King horror movie. A simple change in inflection can completely alter the message.
The third element is to amp up our energy and put it right in the middle of the conversation. Energy stems from our passion, particularly when we speak from the heart. Enthusiasm is easy when we speak about personal experience and that deep seated level of conviction. According to Neurolinguistic theory, the human mind is capable of processing words at roughly 400 words per minute. Most of us speak at 125 to 150 words per minute. Pick up your energy means and speak more quickly. Your audience feels your energy.
Keep the spotlight on them
The fourth skill set is to always keep the spotlight on them. The irony of the first three communication elements is this: We must enhance our ability to help others solve a problem or to somehow help others enhance the quality of their life. Our authority is established when we are seen as allies who sincerely want to help. Our authority is fortified when the listener knows that we care.
We speak from our “mental filters”. Our audience hears through their “mental filters.” As we listen we are looking for those keywords that illustrates a problem that they want solved. As we listen, we respond by shaping the conversation and to look for places of agreement. We see the alignment occur when their curiousity is increased and they want to continue the conversation. We are pulling them toward us.
Remember, people feel before they hear. Draw the listener to you by asking magnetic questions that create curiousity. A couple of examples could be, “Just curious…….. have you ever imagined paying all of your bills by the first of the month. What would that feel like?” Another example, “What if I were to tell you………..about the possibility of……” If we have created the alignment, then our listener will continue to conversation.
The fifth point is to talk like you normally talk. We don’t have to speak at a collegiate level. Simply make the conversation as normal as possible and easy to understand. For most of us, this difficult thing to do. It is a skill that we can practice and develop. I practice by recording, either by audio or video, a script of a presentation. You will be amazed at how quickly you can build confidence and conviction. The advantage to video recordings is that you can also get a sense of smiles and facial expressions. Most of what we communicate is now verbal.
summing up the 5 leadership communication skills
Remember, people feel before they hear and we always keep this in mind. Next, the tone and inflection of what we say is more important than the actual words we use. Third, speak with energy because our energy provides a sense of confidence to our listener. They will relax and more fully engage in the conversation. Fourth, keep the spotlight on them. We are meant to be a blessing to other people. And finally, talk as you normally talk, that is, unless you need to improve your “normal” conversational style. This is something that can and should be practiced.
I hope that you found value in this article. Please leave a comment below. You can also find me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheOrganicRetiree or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ThomStark1.