Have you ever had a teacher who, despite their vast knowledge, struggled to keep the class interested and could never explain complex concepts in simple terms? Or have you worked with a manager who never prepared for meetings or seemed so busy that their attention was always elsewhere? 

These situations have one thing in common: they can damage a leader’s credibility. Like a phone conversation marred by poor sound quality, your messages can’t be heard and integrated effectively if your oral communication skills are lacking. 

This article provides examples and tips on how to make your spoken communication effective and powerful.

Speaking situations that affect credibility 

You don’t have to speak in front of a large audience to make an impact. Communicative leadership is a skill that can be practised every day!

Internal management of an organization

As a leader, you are required to speak in a variety of everyday business situations. These could include team meetings where you need to lead a brainstorming session or facilitate project status updates.

More delicate situations, such as resolving conflicts, defusing tense situations or announcing a major change, require an even greater mastery of communicative leadership.

The art of persuasion

Do you need to persuade your board of directors to approve an innovative project, convince investors to provide more funding, or acquire a new customer with a sales pitch? 

These examples show the importance of effective oral communication in influencing decisions and tipping the scales in favour of your organization’s objectives. 

Knowledge transfer

Are you an expert invited to panel discussions at business events? Do you offer informative webinars or training courses for your industry? 

Sharing and transferring knowledge is one of the wonderful aspects of communicative leadership. Leveraging your knowledge with effective communication will enhance your credibility as a reference in your field.

Be a source of inspiration

Do you occasionally have to speak in front of a wider audience to honour, thank or inform people, or even to promote something? By using the right words and communicating effectively, your message will have a greater impact and inspire your audience.

Tips for improving your speaking skills

Use storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful alternative to traditional public speaking. By speaking naturally and from a personal perspective, you engage your listeners and ensure that they can relate to your message.

Structure your content

Ask yourself the right questions when preparing your talk: 

  • What is the objective?
  • What are the key messages? 
  • Who is your audience? How much does your audience know about the topic?
  • Would a visual aid be helpful? 

These questions will help you to adapt the structure and content of your speech so that your audience is receptive to the message.  

Be prepared

Rehearse, adjust, repeat! 

Once you’ve decided on the structure and content of your speech, start practising! Rehearse your message, adjust it as necessary, and identify the parts that are more difficult to say out loud or that you want to emphasize.  

Prepare your audience 

What should your listeners expect? Does your talk require any preparation on their part, such as preliminary research or reading a document? Preparing an agenda that outlines the topics to be discussed, the length of the meeting and the materials provided on site (printed files, snacks, pencils and note paper, etc.) can help pave the way for better communication and better listening on the part of your audience. 

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3 

There’s nothing worse than experiencing technical difficulties during a presentation, while the audience waits patiently for you to solve the problem. So be sure to test your microphone, camera, visual aids, Wi-Fi network, etc. in advance to avoid unnecessary stress!

Engage your audience 

For example, in a videoconference training session, you could tell participants that they can ask questions at any time by unmuting, virtually raising their hand or typing in the chat. You could also ask them questions to test their knowledge and make sure they understand. To avoid situations where people are speaking over each other, provide instructions on when and how to speak right from the start to ensure smooth communication and a positive experience for everyone. 

Plan the end of the meeting 

Consider closing your presentation by asking people to do something concrete – such as plan the next meeting –, announcing news or sharing resources where they can find additional information to learn more about the topic.  

Practice active listening

Be available. No one likes a virtual meeting where their boss is distracted every time an email comes in. Being 100% available by avoiding distractions during the conversation, listening, asking questions and summarizing what has been said will ensure that you fully understand what the other person is saying while increasing your credibility

Create helpful visual aids

Providing visuals during your presentation – but not to the point of distracting your listeners – will help them better grasp your message. Visual aids serve to emphasize key messages while helping your audience better understand some of the more abstract concepts.

Improve your communicative leadership with coaching 

Whether it’s the message itself or its delivery, The Storyteller coaches and supports executives who want to increase their impact and enhance their leadership. Sound interesting? Book your discovery call to find out how we can help you! 

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