Leaders have high expectations bestowed upon them. Although communicating with employees of the company about what is expected is routine, they will also have to face the media and the general public as they are the face of the company. Leaders need to enhance their communication skills regularly. Here are some of the strategies that leaders can use to improve their communication skills.
Know the Audience
Every time leaders communicate, they must understand the audience at hand. The way a leader talks to the press is different from how the message is delivered to the members of the public or organizational staff members. This is important as it helps the leader to determine the language and the technical terms in use while at the same time helping to prevent stereotypical incidences.
Open Up to Learning
Leaders should ensure that they have a performance evaluation mechanism such as using audience evaluations or engaging trusted friends colleagues. These people will have an honest and a fair assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. After understanding the areas where improvement is needed, the leader should learn and advance their skills.
Prominent business leaders and politicians may sometimes have flaws in their communications. Some of these flaws might either be subtle or glaring. Practice will lead to improvement. Role playing with colleagues or team members who can be the devil’s advocate against your message can be very helpful. Also try video taping the role play and reviewing it yourself, this will allow you to self evaluate things you can improve upon.
Keep It Short
One of the best strategies for leaders to enhance their communication skills is making it short and exciting. In most cases, using dense terminology makes the audience to lose interest. The best method of implementing this strategy would include having an introduction, body, and a conclusion that emphasize on the message.
As much as the leader is the one addressing the audience, listening carefully is an essential factor that leaders should put into considerations. They should encourage the audience to ask questions and participate effectively. It is through listening that the leader will understand what the audience needs are and get an opportunity to address them comprehensively.
There are many good resources available for improving your public communication skills. In particular, I would recommend the following resource which is written by a former influential member of the media. Check out When the Message Is You: An Insider’s Guide to Handling the Media by Jeff Ansel. With so few formal training opportunities in public relations, a resource like this can be very helpful to thinking about your message and how you can improve the delivery of of very important information. Often you only get one chance to get the message out the way you want!