What one trait makes a great leader?

If you had to look at any great leader’s diary, you’d quickly see where they spend most of their time. It’s interacting with people and communicating their goals and objectives. This highlights the importance of having strong communication skills.

So what exactly goes into effective interacting and communicating with people? Below are some basic guidelines. Please note these are by no means exhaustive as effective communication is a significantly large topic, but this article aims to introduce you to the subject.

What great communicators get right

If you had to take a page out of any great communicators book, be it Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King Jr or Gandhi you’d quickly see that there is a common thread that runs through how they approach engaging with their audience. Below are a few things that stand out:

Content is clear

The content they are sharing at the time is clear, concise and to the point. The message often gets reinforced from different perspectives to engage the audience more effectively, but the subject matter will remain the same.

Values stand out

Belief is at the heart of every great communicator. They feel strongly about what they are sharing and the way they engage the audience. As a result, their value system or the company’s values will come through loud and clear.

Next steps stand out

Have you ever left a meeting being unsure of what to do next? Effective communicators make the next steps a priority and always ensure what needs to happen and who is doing it are clear to the team or audience.

They listen

I think there is an excellent reason we have two ears and one mouth. Listening should be a priority. And all effective communicators are good listeners. Even the late Steve Jobs, a tough-minded businessman, developed this skill later in his career.

Know how to connect

Having something you need to share and being unable to connect with your audience will immediately put you at a disadvantage. Great leaders can read the room. And will or can adapt their message to make sure it hits the mark. Be sure you know your audience when you communicate. Think about their level of understanding, their backgrounds and the roles they perform. And connect your message to that.

Barriers to getting communication right

Poor planning

It’s said that “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail”. This is not only true in business. It’s true in communication. Planning and thinking about your desired outcome is vital. Never go into any meeting thinking you can shoot from the hip because you know your subject matter.

Not explaining why

Coupled with planning is outlining why you are communicating. I have often seen business leaders talk strategy but not explain why the plan exists. Even leaders in the Navy Seals, who are amongst the most practical and effective communicators, explain why a mission exists.

Missing the audience

Each one of us processes information slightly different based on our level of competence and understanding. Over the years, I have seen many leaders communicate to their audience as if they are the message recipients. You need to first look at who your audience is and then build your message around that.

Adopting a one size fits all approach

We live in a digital age where people are time-poor. As a result, people skim-read information that directly impacts how they comprehend the message. Good communicators know that the communication channel should be carefully considered to ensure the message lands.

Rambling on

This next point follows on from the last. Talking a lot is not effective communication. As stated earlier, have a plan. Know how to share your plan and make sure you talk about the plan in a clear and concise manner.

Tips to make communication better

In closing. I think it can be said that all of us wish we could be better communicators. Sadly we spend so little time honing this vital skill.
Below are a few practical ways to improve your communication skills in no time at all.

  • Repeating your message several times.
  • Use stories or analogies to convey concepts
  • Encourage feedback from your team
  • Develop the art of interacting with groups
  • Be knowledgeable on your subject matter

How we help you communicate effectively

A key part of your messaging landing is making it clear and simple to understand.

At We Explain Stuff we offer a few tools to help leaders and entrepreneurs land their message more effectively. One of the more common ones is an infographic.

Think of it as your message on a page. Or an executive summary of your core message. The power of an infographic is in the simplify of it. Making it easy to print or share across digital channels.

Many of the infographics we have developed for our clients over the years have become sales videos, product ore service presentation and even change management campaigns.

All these reasons make them a particularly valuable as a digital asset for your business.

Find out more

If you’d like to find out more we offer a 30 min discover call.

Based on the outcome, we problem-solve with you to create a way forward that empowers you and your staff.

Get Our Infographic

About Garth Jemmett

Garth Jemmett is the founder of We Explain Stuff. He helps business leaders escape complexity by making strategies, processes, products and services easy to understand.

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