April 17 , 2007
The Art of Leadership:
Talking the Walk
If leadership is about influence, what is the conduit of influence? How do great leaders gain the support and commitment of their followers? How do they convey their ideals, goals, and strategies to the people who can help them bring it all to fruition?
Simply enough, it all begins with outstanding communication. Superb communication is the cornerstone of great leadership. Whether you are a corporate executive, a team leader, or a front line manager, whether a teacher, a community leader, or a parent, you can get superior results by effectively honing your communication skills.
The following guidelines will help you get your message across clearly and convincingly.
• Command the language. Be supremely articulate, even eloquent,
in all written and spoken communication.
• Be yourself. Authenticity is a vital element of credibility. If you try to sound
like someone else, your message will be diluted or lost entirely.
• Invite dialogue. Communication involves more than simply relating facts or your
particular point of view. Let your listeners respond, question, and contribute
to the conversation.
• Speak with confidence. Your honest display of conviction and passion will earn
the respect of your audience.
• Walk your talk. Don't just say it. Do it. Live it.
• Say it again. And again. Even the most powerful and important message must be
repeated to get into the hearts and minds of your listeners.
• Take a stand. Inconsistent or wishy-washy communication will be quickly
discounted. Better to take an extreme or unpopular stance than to waver from one position to the next.
• Say it in different ways. Speak to individuals, small groups, large audiences. Write powerful memos. Send timely emails. Issue press releases. Use the Internet. Today there are myriad venues for delivering your message. Use them.
Great leaders know: it's not just what you say, it's also how you say it. Communicate with authority, conviction, authenticity, and poise. That's the way great leaders get results.
In the Press
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