Communication is a skill! It’s a rare exception for someone to be a great oral communicator without any form of training. Communicating complex issues is a highly prized skill. It requires a leader to be able to break down issues into component parts. It’s a skill to convey concepts so that they are easily understood. The maxim of practice, practice, practice; is the key here. The new leader needs time to get up and outline complex situations. They require face time with an audience to practice their craft. As a leader becomes more senior these audiences increase in size or the subjects become more complex and important.
Understanding the dynamics of a group, or the motivations of an individual is the starting point. Having subject matter knowledge is equally important in preparation to effectively communicate. “War Gaming” how the communication will be conveyed, possible questions and responses, is an important part of the preparation too. The communication event should be kept as simple as possible if there is not enough time to prepare.
Positivity is contagious. A leader who speaks with passion and can change the tone and inflection in their voice, to connect with an audience, is going to be more effective. Reading off slides is not effective, displaying an image and then talking from the heart about a concept is a powerful tool that connects a leader’s thoughts to the minds of the recipients.
A leader should seek feedback about their communication style. This can be in the form of a survey, from a coach or mentor, or from a trusted source. The measurement of effectiveness should ideally be focused on how much traction a leader has with their intended audience and how effective the communication was.
Communication is one of the most important skills of a leader. To be effective a person must have the opportunity to convey complex issues and they must practice how to hold the attention of an audience. Speaking about a subject with passion is vital for the recipient to retain the information, and a leader should be constantly seeking feedback so that they can continue to develop and be more effective.