Leaders will benefit from improving their communication skills. No matter your level of competence when it comes to communication, there is always room for growth and improvement. Most of the time effective communication is about remembering and applying basic communication skills. There are 4 communication skills which will allow you to become or remain an effective communicator. The communication skills include: talking less, positioning your body, showing emotions, and sharing a captivating story. Let’s talk about each of those skills.
1. Talk Less
I’ve found leaders love to talk. I think it’s because most of them like to be in command and also to be able to hear themselves. But, if you want to become a better communicator you should practice talking less. Philosopher Epictetus wisely said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
You should share the conversation time. When someone is talking make sure not to be thinking about your response or agenda so you can focus on them. This will allow plenty of time for the other person to talk and you will be able to really hear what is being said. Talking less allows you to share only what you need to communicate and causes you to think about the best word choice.
2. Position Your Body
Leaders should always be ready for a conversation. Your body language should be open and approachable. Achieve this by making sure your face and neck are up and facing forward, your shoulders are up, back is strait, hands are in an open position (like to your side or in your pockets), and your legs are strait and firmly grounded. Take a minute to test yourself in each of the above areas. You might also want to practice power posturing.
You should make sure your body language matches what you are communicating. Your body language when praising someone might be different then when disciplining someone. For the most of your conversations you should face the person, lean forward a little bit, have eye contact, smile, and nod at the appropriate times. This will show the person you are interested and engaged in the conversation.
3. Show Your Emotions
Humans are emotional beings. It would benefit a leader to show their emotions when they are communicating. Just think about Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech. The emotions he was feeling about equal rights showed through. His passion and emotions caused people to stand beside him.
You can use your emotions for your advantage when you incorporate them into your conversations and speeches. Don’t be afraid to share or communicate your feelings with your people. Being transparent and appropriately showing your emotions tells your people it’s safe to share their own emotions. At the same time you want to be careful not to share or embody emotions that could be damaging. Like uncontrolled anger or inappropriate aggression. Those types of emotions can negatively impact the conversation and your leadership.
4. Share A Captivating Story
Chris Cavanaugh, “Storytellers, by the very act of telling, communicate a radical learning that changes lives and the world: telling stories is a universally accessible means through which people make meaning.” Everyone wants to hear a good story. Captivating stories have the power to inspire, influence, teach, and stays in the minds and hearts of the people you shared them with.
Take time to evaluate yourself to determine how well you currently share stories and describe situations while in conversations, speeches, or meetings. You might want to consider learning how to tell better stories. Take time to read a book about storytelling or watch some famous speeches on YouTube so you can learn the skills of a captivating story.
Question: Which of these 4 communication skills do you find most helpful or beneficial in leading?
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