If you aspire to be an effective leader of people, then communication is probably the key to your success. You can have the greatest vision ever, but unless you can communicate it to your staff you will never bring them along with you on your journey. Richard Branson is quoted as saying “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess” – it is fundamental to what you are doing.
Many people think of communication as just the words that they use, but they forget that the recipient of the communication also picks up other signals from body language and tone of voice. Your words will have much more impact if your body language and tone of voice is congruent with the message you are delivering. So, for example, a presentation to staff of a new direction for a company will need to have at least some of the elements of a rallying cry for the troops. You will need to show enthusiasm and confidence in the new direction and most of those emotions will come through in your voice and stance rather than your actual words. If you find this difficult it is important to examine the reasons why. Some people just find public speaking hard and their nerves get in the way, however occasionally it may be that the nerves come from a feeling deep down that you don’t believe in the message. In this case there is some soul searching to be done, because if the leader doesn’t believe it, the staff will pick that up very quickly from a lack-lustre presentation. Your body language will leak your low confidence. The staff won’t know why they feel that way, but they will pick it up and rip your plans to pieces in private.
Most business people have no formal training in dramatic arts, but this is an area where acting skills can be of use, not to bluff your staff with a poor message, but to make sure the message you believe in is delivered fully with words, tone of voice and body language all in congruence.
If you would like to learn more about communication skills for leaders, then our “Strategic Thinking and Decision Making” course is a good place to start.