Most CEOs, politicians and other public figures have had communication training. It’s weird, however, because most of them will not admit it. Why are people ashamed of being taught how to be engaging and even command a room? Perhaps, it somehow tied to the most common fear of them all – public speaking.
Anyway, I am not so ashamed. In fact, I have done it all. I’ve had speech writing training, delivery training, body movement training and body language training. I’ve even had training on how to “find my voice”. I’ve done it all.
The reason I have spent so much time of communication is its obvious importance in being an effective leader. If you cannot communicate your ideas, then how are you going to be heard? How are you going to affect change? Further, you likewise need to understand whether you’ve properly conveyed your message and whether you have buy-in.
Below are a few tips for better communication:
- Plant your feet and make eye contact with someone in the room during your first sentence. For each sentence thereafter, make contact with someone else continuing this process until you’re done. You will be amazed at how much more engaging this approach is over “light-housing” (i.e., swaying your head back and forth).
- Do not read. Never read. Prepare bullet points and speak from the heart. You may miss something along the way but you’ll cover 90 percent of your content and avoid having others tune out.
- Pause. The most important technique. Your audience needs time to catch up with you, and it will prevent you from saying “um” or “er”. It seems awkward, but for the listener it is completely natural and desired.
- Never point. People don’t like being pointed at and they even don’t like seeing others being pointed at.
- Get out from behind the podium. Remove this physical barrier between you and your audience. They’ll appreciate it and like you better.