Great leaders are usually great communicators. No leadership skill can compensate for poor communications. Great communicators use their skills to persuade others to follow. They are able to present their vision and plan in a clear and concise manner.
In the first article in this series, Leadership Skills – Communications Part 1 we looked at the role of the speaker. Now we will examine the listener and learn how knowing who you are communicating with is almost as important as what you say.
Communications Are Heard With the Ears
To communicate effectively the listener must hear what you are saying. Your voice should be loud enough to be heard, but not overbearing. Shouting is not an effective form of communications. It turns on the emotional barriers of the listener and will make effective communications difficult. You should speak using a normal tone of voice, only changing it to make an emphasis to a point.
If you are unsure of how well your speech is being heard you should practice by recording yourself talking. Rehearse a speech and record it. Do this first in private to look for obvious flaws in your speech patterns. Then record yourself as you actually give the speech or communicate with someone. You may be surprised at how you think you are speaking and how you really are.
Communications Are Interpreted In the Mind
You may be speaking from the heart, with well formed words and in the right environment. But does the person or are the people you are speaking to understand what you say? You should know the interpretation level of those you are communicating with. Do not use words or jargon they do not understand. You are not trying to impress them with you command of language, you are trying to effectively communicate with them.
Communications Are Justified In the Heart
Just as your communications began in your heart, the words end up in the listener’s heart. Consider how the listener will feel about what you say. If you are speaking to someone you know well, you may know how to talk to them. If you are speaking to a person or group of people you have never met, you should find out as much about them as possible.
You want to understand what their core values and principles are. You also must understand that how they perceive you will determine how they will interpret what you have to say. This goes back to your heart and your core values and principles. If your reputation gives the listener a sense of trust, they will be more likely to believe and follow what you say.
Great leaders are great communicators. They base they communications on a sound foundation of principles and values. Their mind possesses the ability to use words and build sentences to clearly and effectively convey their message. They are able to say what they mean without getting tongue tied because the first two elements are aligned.
Great communicators understand the circumstances and the environment they will be speaking in and tailor their message to fit. They know how to control their voice and the tone of their speech so listener hears what they have to say. They understand the interpretation level of the listener and use the correct words. They understand the core values of the listener so they can speak to their heart.
Communications is a skill. Like any skill it must be developed. How well of a communicator you become depends on how you develop the skill and how committed you are to improving. Read books, listen to and watch good public speakers. Get feedback from others on how well you communicate.
Communications is vital to leadership. You will need it to inspire trust, loyalty and commitment to individuals and groups. You will be able to persuade others to follow you. You will be able to present your plan or vision in a clear and concise manner. Your credibility as a leader will increase if you can effectively communicate your message.
Great leaders are not born great, nor are the skills they possess given to them. Great leaders are not made so by a title or promotion. Leadership is a discipline that must be learned and worked on. This series will continue with other leadership skills required to become a great leader.
|The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader: Becoming the Person Others Will Want to Follow
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