Communication is essential when it comes to leadership. A leader must master the art of communication if they want to successfully lead those around them. To do this requires a leader to think holistically about communication. Holistic communication is about making sure your body language, spoken words, and voice tone all match the message you are communicating. Effective communication happens when each of these elements are working together to send the same message.
Psychologist John Clabby coined a helpful acronym for giving your best when it comes to communication. He says, “Give your BEST – Body Language, Eye Contact, Speech, and Tone of Voice. Strive to always give your absolute BEST: body language (strong, not slumped), eye contact (focused, not wandering), speech (strong, not passive) and tone of voice (self-assured, not soft). Strive to sharpen these four aspects of your communication.”
When a leader adapts a holistic approach to communication it allows them to effectively communicate with those they lead. Let’s further discuss each of the elements John mentions in the above acronym.
Body language- A leader needs to be self-aware of their body language each time they communicate. To be in the habit of making sure it matches the words they are speaking. Body language can include: how you present yourself (if you’re hunched over or standing strait), facial expressions, as well as were you place your arms and legs. Your body language is just as important as the words you speak. Become intentional about your body language.
Eye contact- Eye contact shows the other person you are listening to what they are saying. A leader must be intentional about focusing on the person speaking and having good eye contact with them. Outside distractions (like a phone or another conversation) can cause you to lose focus of the person talking. When you are having a conversation don’t allow your cell phone or any other potential distraction, to cause you to break eye contact.
Speech (words spoken)- The words you speak are crucial to your leadership. Great communication is about using the right word choice at the right time. To be careful and wise about what comes out of your mouth. Remember the words a leader speaks has the power to raise a person up or bring them down. A leader should be intentional about using words that encourage and motivate while still influencing them toward a common vision. You have to be especially aware of your words when you are correcting someone or during a high stress situation.
Voice tone- Your voice tone can be different depending on the person you are communicating with and the topic being discussed. For example, you would not use the same voice tone when correcting as you would for praising. Make sure your voice tone matches the three elements already discussed. All while being “self-assured” about yourself and communication.
Questions: How are you becoming a holistic communicator? Which element do you need to spend some time sharpening?