Many times I see business leaders, literally suffering as they find it so hard to persuade anyone else to follow their vision. It seems many business leaders fail to grasp how they can influence people around them. Which is why I keep repeating that communication is no longer considered a “soft skill” for business leaders, but a “core skill”. Business leaders should not simply pay lip service to the importance of effective communication, they need to study the art of communication in all its forms — writing, speaking, presenting — and constantly strive to improve on those skills.
Now, it is not possible to include all of the various elements of communications skills that leaders should use, in this Blog Article. However I will just forward a few simple pointers that should be very useful.
- When communicating, keep things simple – Use short and simple words, especially when speaking or writing about delicate and difficult things. Long, complicated sentences make written ideas hard to understand — they’re mentally draining and demand more concentration. You are likely to be understood much more and reduce any risk of misunderstanding, if you replace long and complex words and sentences, with short sentences and simple words.
- Use practical examples to reinforce key aspects of what you want to communicate – A simple example is a powerful tool that compares abstract ideas to familiar concepts. It will allow people listening to you, to keep following the communication journey, without wandering off.
- Show your humanity when communicating – This is especially true when you are trying to persuade and communicate using data. The trick to reducing cognitive load and making any data point interesting is to humanise it by placing the number in perspective. Showing only PowerPoint slides with statistics and charts only adds cognitive weight, draining the mental energy of the people you are communicating with, You need to map and link all the data with something that touches the people you are communicating with on a human level. So any time you introduce numbers, take the extra step and effort to make them engaging, memorable and ultimately persuasive.
- Do not just communicate, but communicate with a purpose and mission – The best leaders do not just communicate but they overcommunicate. They overcommunicate to repeat their purpose and mission so often, it becomes their mantra. A mantra is a statement or slogan that builds in strength as it’s repeated. Overcommunication fuels its impact. So communicating your mission should take center stage. Which leads to a second question – have you found your purpose or mission as a leader? If you haven’t you are limiting your communication impact.
People will not follow leaders who are granted power through sheer title alone. The most successful teams follow leaders because they are inspired to do so….and people can only start to being inspired if a leader can communicate with them effectively.