How To Communicate Like An Inspirational Leader
How To Communicate Like An Inspirational Leader
By Mark Wager
As a leader you need to inspire people in such a way that you will make them work with you and with full commitment and passion. This is a challenge because in the vast majority of companies, the time a leader gets to spend with his team is limited, so it's vital that any time you get an opportunity to gather your team together to talk to them, your message and its delivery needs to be as inspirational as possible.
Many people find talking to a group of people a daunting task and when that talk has to be inspirational, the challenge is even greater but it's a challenge that can be overcome. As a Leadership Coach I've shown many leaders how to become more inspirational and effective and in this article I want to cover some of the practical tips that will help every leader communicate with their team in a more inspirational manner.
Get rid of that PowerPoint presentation
Before you even start your talk don't even think about doing a PowerPoint presentation. When a Manager talks to their team their aim is to inform and pass on information yet when a leader talks to their team their aim is to inspire action. The purpose of PowerPoint is to inform and not inspire, no one has ever been inspired by a PowerPoint presentation but many people have been inspired by a leader standing in front of them being authentic. If this makes you nervous then good, grab this opportunity to connect with your team and be the inspirational leader you know you have the potential to become.
Many leaders tend to forget how they define a word may be completely different to how other people interpret the same word. This lack of understanding can often lead to people leaving a meeting with very different ideas than what was discussed and even more importantly what is required from them. It's common to see a leader give a talk about what values are important for the team to succeed and obtain universal agreement from the team yet the leader doesn't spend any time on explaining how those values translate into day to day behaviours so when the team leaves they all have a different definition of what those values mean which made the initial talk completely ineffective.
Tell a story
One of the few things that has survived throughout the history of mankind is the tradition of sharing a story. The methods of story telling have changed dramatically through history but stories told in the right way evokes emotions and inspire us. Who hasn't cried when watching a romantic or sad movie or laughed when reading a funny novel. Despite the methods of storytelling the essence of a story remains the same. There is a hero or a heroine. There is an obstacle in their way and they find a way to overcome that obstacle. Storytelling is an important tool for a leader and when quality leaders tell their story, they ensure that the listener is the hero of the piece. Its them that will overcome the obstacles and it's them that will have the happy ending.
Always be confident
The effectiveness of your message will be determined by your body language. If you don't look confident then no matter what you say the only message people will take away is that you were nervous. People generally follow and replicate the behaviours of the leader and if the leader is confident then that confidence spreads among the team. Demonstrating confidence is essential if you want to inspire your team and if you are not feeling confident then there's one thing you can do. You need to prepare, prepare and prepare. When you feel nervous it's your subconscious telling you that there are unknown events coming up and it's our natural instinct to be wary of the unknown so preparation and lots of it will overcome those nerves. If you are meeting in a certain room, go there in advance and practice your talk and imagine what questions are going to be raised.
Use "you" for praise and "we" for action.
This is a simple technique that I've found to work. As an authority on leadership psychology I've seen certain patterns of behaviour when teams are highly motivated. Within a team the members want to be praised and valued as individuals yet they also have a desire to be part of a collective unit. A simple choice of your words can address this motivation so when you praise, use the word "you" make people feel valued as individuals yet use "we" when talking about action. A leader doesn't need to include himself in the praise but it's vital that he includes himself in the action. It's "we" that achieves success. The leader needs to make it clear that we are all in it together and the leader will take off his jacket and work as hard as everyone else.
When we see an inspirational leader it's easy to fall into the trap of believing that they are good naturally. Some are but they are in a small minority and the majority of quality leaders recognise that leadership is a series of skills that can be learnt with time and dedication. If you are willing to dedicate time to focus on every interaction you have with your team then you too can become the kind of inspirational leader that you admire.
Image courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Posted: Monday 17 October 2016