Manage Your Message

Most leaders I meet in my work are excellent communicators. And yet, even they have a difficult time coming across the way they intend. Most of us struggle with this. Unfortunately, how a leader communicates reflects on their character, competence and individual brand promise.

I’ve been writing about this in recent posts. Communicating with professionalism forges trust. Clear enunciation, authoritative delivery and considerate expression leave a lasting impression. In addition, communicating with emotional control can reinforce a brand promise.

The best leadership communication is based on facts, not speculation. Speak knowledgably and objectively to reinforce your credibility. Wishful emotion and baseless assumptions create a very poor brand promise. Credible leaders muster the most influence because they gather the most followers. Manage your message with preparation (research), insight (analysis) and diplomacy (tact) to deliver on your brand promise.

Strengthen Your Speaking Skills

Masterful speakers show their true passions. They use factual stories that are emotional, novel and memorable to answer “why” and connect with their listeners. Their body language and nonverbal behaviors are congruent and conversational. Instead of delivering a speech, great speakers converse with their listeners. How?

Here are a few tips from leaders with strong brand promise:

  • Use a message map
  • Speak in brief segments to avoid confusion
  • Summarize significant points
  • Ask questions to make sure your listeners grasp your message
  • Be open to questions from your audience: this conveys a desire to meet their needs and engages them in a collaborative dialogue.

Speaking skills need to transfer to large group sessions as well, according to Dianna Booher in Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done (Berrett-Koehler, 2017). Be positive, confident and trust your authority. When you don’t know the answer to a question, let the listeners know how and when you will get it to them. Remember: people are looking for hope and security in what you say, even if the news is difficult. Don’t be afraid to make a genuine emotional connection, and put their interests first.

What do you think? As a leader, how do you manage your message to support your individual brand promise? I’d love to hear from you. You can call me at 704-827-4474; let’s talk. And as always, I can be reached here, or on LinkedIn.

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