When you think about the traits of great leaders, what comes to mind first? Confidence, drive, vision, passion? One thing that connects them all is their ability to communicate their message effectively.
We can all learn something from analyzing the communication secrets of exceptional leaders. Here are six tips to put into practice today.
Crafting a message that resonates with your audience starts by listening. What are their wants and needs? How do they think things should work or be improved? As a leader, your job is to be their voice so make sure you know what your audience wants to say.
Listening is also critical when responding to opposition. Instead of gearing up to make your next point, use the time when you’re not speaking to really absorb the other party’s perspective.
2. Be honest
Being a good leader doesn’t mean telling people what they want to hear all the time. It’s telling people what they need to hear. An honest approach to communication will build trust with your audience.
3. Be confident
Delivery is key. Exhibiting confidence in yourself and your message will transfer to your audience causing them to have more confidence in you. Part of being confident is also being direct with what you have to say. Ambiguity and submissiveness will not spark confidence from your audience.
4. Be accountable
If it comes out of your mouth, own it. Follow through on promises you make. Don’t backtrack or play the ‘he said, she said’ game when things aren’t going as planned. Step up and be accountable for your words and actions.
5. Don’t neglect non-verbal communication
Your body language says a lot. Try to convey openness, understanding and confidence with your stance, facial expressions and gestures. You should also pay attention to your audience’s body language for cues as to how they’re responding to your message.
6. Ask for feedback
The only way to improve how your message is received is to know how your message was received. Asking for and incorporating feedback from your audience is the best way to showcase transparency and build rapport.
The Bottom Line
A great leader starts by being a great communicator, so take a minute to assess how you’re doing in each of these behaviors. On the surface they sound simple, but they’re not always easy. By taking the time to hone your listening skills, body language, confidence, honesty and accountability, you’ll quickly gain your team’s support and admiration.