[December 22, 2013] Undoubtedly, when the most well-known and greatest leaders are discussed, their ability to communicate sets them apart. The best senior executive leaders are also the greatest communicators.
Leaders must have vision. However, without the ability to articulate that vision effectively, the leader’s ability to see the future would be wasted.
Due to its importance, the “great communicator” characteristic is a 3-part series addressing the five main aspects of communications. The elements of the great communicator are broken down into categories to help make more sense of this topic.
Here are the major components of the most effective communicators:
- People Skills (external)
- Passion (internal)
- Listening Ability
There are more books and articles written on effective communications as a part of leadership than any other subject; and that’s a fact that is not unexpected. So what makes up this greatest asset of leaders?
The five components of communications listed here are addressed individually. But these elements are overlapping conceptually and also are mutually supporting. For example, one cannot have people skills and not have the ability to listen.
People Skills1: Simply, this refers to the ability to socially interact with others effectively. Such skills are a basic component of being a well-adapted person and successful professional. What the greatest communicator does is hone this ability into a fine-tuned asset.
The talent of possessing people skills also means that one has the ability to “connect with people.” Often this appears to be a natural-born quality because it is quite difficult to learn and requires the ability to use many different abilities at the same time.
President Bill Clinton is an example of someone who could walk into a room and have everyone focus on him. He knew his audience. He had confidence, intensity, and charisma. A true leader can make people feel that they are something special. President Clinton said it best himself, “I can feel your pain.”
Verbal skills are crucial. Through proper tone of voice, word inflection, use of key words and phrases, one can deliver ideas more efficiently. Whether speaking to a person one-on-one, to a small group, or large audience, the way the leader speaks to them differs only in degree.
Non-verbal messages are also important when connecting to people. This means a leader is able to communicate through facial expressions, eye contact, gestures, and other body positions. This helps thwart misinterpretations. It also includes the way a person dresses and body posture.
People skills therefore are one of the key aspects of great communications. Used in everyday life, anyone who has wants to do well should look to improve their ability to connect to others. This is the mark of the greatest leaders and allows them to inspire people to follow.