Communication is a leadership skill that drives the progress of every organization. A leader’s communication to his or her boards, managers, employees, media and the public can always be improved.
What are the Characteristics of a Superior Communicator?
1. Excellent Narrative Technique.
Can you tell the “story” of your organization so that it is compelling to your audience? A story is weaving the facts of the organization together so that it forms a story line that is interesting and persuasive. (Watch Steve Jobs, former Apple CEO, “Steve Jobs Most Inspiring Speech” on You tube.)
2. Connecting the Mission to Strategies and Tactics.
Do you tell the “why” as well as the “how” in your remarks? It is easy to lose the big picture for instance “quality patient care” and “educating students for the real world,” are ultimate outcomes that need to be connected to actionable steps that engage the managers, employees, boards, the media and the public.
Are you able to articulate the vision of your organization and required actions in optimistic terms? Expressing an optimistic vision in understandable language and relating it to a “call to action,” is not easy. It requires thought and practice but the payoff is huge in terms of motivating the organization and moving it forward.
(Watch “Obama Shares Message of relentless optimism” in Speech and Chat with Bill and Melinda Gates-Goalkeepers speech.)
4. Rich, Visual Language.
Are you painting a picture with the language that you use? For example, “Our patient volume increased by 22% in 2016,” or “Our hospital provided quality care to 30,000 more patients and their families this year through all of our services. This increase of 22% had a positive effect on our financials and it helped to improve the community that we serve.” The second statement gives a rich context to the 22% number not just a fact.
A second example would be: “Our school system achieved a 2% increase in its academic rating in the past school year, “or “Children in our school system showed a marked improvement in 2016-2017. A 2% improvement in reading and math performance on a nationally standardized test indicates to our teachers and principals that our teaching strategies are moving in the right direction and that we can build on this year’s performance in 2018-2019.” (Read the 6 page text of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech” and look for phrases like “the fierce urgency of now.”)
5. Confident Voice and Executive Presence.
What are your optics as a leader? How do you sound and appear to others? A confident voice has deeper tonal qualities that imparts authority and grabs attention. A confident stance, manner and nonverbal cues signify leadership. Everyone can improve their optics. (Watch Jeff Immelt, GE CEO Speech Keynote on Minds + Machines, 2016.)
If you are leading a hospital, school system or business, you already have some of these qualities. However, this may be the year to really sharpen them and utilize them to move your organization forward.
Barbara Carey at TCI has years of executive presence and communication coaching on a one on one basis. Coaching helps you to see yourself objectively and to make improvements that make a difference. All Inquiries are Confidential!