Do You Have What It Takes to Be a Leader?
“If a leader can’t get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn’t even matter.”
~Gilbert Amelio, CEO of National Semiconductor Corp.
Open and clear communication is a critical part of strong leadership. In today’s global marketplace, a successful professional must be able to deliver their message in a clear and concise manner and to use their speaking skills to lead and inspire others.
Every professional that has ever had to sit through a business meeting or presentation can tell you that all public speakers are not created equal. There are some people who seem to exude a natural confidence and effortlessly command the attention of everyone in the room, while others consistently struggle to maintain the focus of the crowd. Strong communication skills don’t come naturally to most people, but like any other skill, learning to be a dynamic, engaging speaker can be achieved with the right training and practice.
Effective, dynamic communication isn’t just about what you say; it’s how you say it. According to research recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, The sound of someone’s voice matters twice as much as the content of his or her message. Studies have shown that a person’s speech patterns, including the quality of their voice, strongly influence how he or she is perceived. What many don’t realize is that you can change the way you sound. For those who speak too quickly or in a soft voice, the message can be lost.
There are steps one can take to improve their professional speaking skills and deliver every message like a leader. By practicing these techniques you will be able to transform your communication skills into those of a dynamic and engaging speaker. You will consistently be able to establish credibility as soon as you begin to speak, and you will be able to persuade your audience with powerful authority and clarity.
1. Finish Your Words: People are frequently in such a hurry when speaking, that they forget to finish their words. If words are not clearly pronounced, the message can be misinterpreted. Think about the many sounds in English that differ in just the last sound; bad/bat; void, voice; recent, recess. If your listener has to replay what you just said they will miss out on what you are currently saying. Prevent miscommunication in business by simply being clear and articulate.
2. Power up Your Voice: Speaking in a strong voice conveys confidence and leadership. Learning to project from the diaphragm will create a strong, confident and dynamic voice. Take a breath and feel the control.
3. Master the Strategic Pause: Simply slowing down your rate of speech will add impact to your message and will significantly improve your speech quality and delivery. Speak in sound bites. It shows you are in control of what you are saying, and it gives the listener time to process what is being said.
4. Communicate with Eloquence: Avoid using filler words such as ”uh”, “um”, “like”, and “you know.” Even seasoned professionals often use these words more often than then realize. Make an effort to avoid any words, syllables and phrases that detract from your message and make you look unprofessional.
5. Be Concise: When people are nervous, they tend to ramble on and on. Put thought into your phrasing so that your communication is clear and concise. Long rambling speeches will make the audience lose focus and take away from your message.
Regardless of whether you’re talking about business, politics or sports, the best leaders are first-rate communicators. By practicing the five tips above, you can learn to transform your communication skills into those of a dynamic leader.
Remember: clear communication is the most important key to a business leader’s success.
Want to learn more? Take a look at this recent video by Corporate Speech Solutions’ Founder and President, Jayne Latz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIVN1mhsG28.