It is impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator.
Please don’t read that previous statement and disqualify yourself. Just because you look in the mirror and don’t see a leader does not mean others don’t see the leader in you.
You are a Leader
If your a parent, trying to get a two year old to eat dinner than your a leader. If your a Pastor, ministry leader, on a church staff, administrator in a secular vocation, stay at home mom – you are a leader.
A leader is someone who yields influence over someone else.
Everyone yields some form of influence, regardless of how you feel about yourself – you are a leader.
Great Communication Isn’t What You Think It Is…
One more thing we have to clarify… So, what is great communication?
Most people think great communicators are eloquent, well polished speakers. And they may be, but the real test of communication isn’t what you say, but rather what people do with what you say.
Anyone can learn how to sway the crowd with clever words. But only great communicators can get the crowd to move in a specific direction.
Great communication happens when a leader communicates a vision, direction, change in such a way that his or her listeners are compelled to action.
According to Mike Myatt, “[Great Leaders] talk about their ideas, but they do so in a way which also speaks to your emotions and your aspirations.” Great communication is not about you but it’s about others. It’s about speaking in a way that causes others to respond.
How To Become a Better Communicator
There is only one true way to become a better communicator and that is to practice, practice, get some feedback and then practice some more. So the following is a list of ways to communicate more effectively, but remember – practice makes perfect, or at least better than you used to be.
- Trust is foundational to Great Communication – the bottom line is that people won’t follow you, heed your counsel or listen to your message if they don’t trust you. So build trust by being consistent – allowing what you say, do and believe to align itself. Also, trust is built when people feel you are looking out for their interest.
- Be Vulnerable. Pastor Andy Stanley once said, “if you preach from your weakness you’ll never run out of material.” I find that people identify more with your weaknesses than with your strengths. So be genuine and be vulnerable. Talk about your great successes and your great failures. People will love you when they believe that they are just like you.
- Use Story. I use story as much as possible. Just recently I was teaching a membership class. I wanted the potential members to understand how their behavior would impact how people saw God. So I told a story of going to the mall, having my two year old throw a tantrum and everyone at the mall looked at my son and then looked a me. Why, because the behavior of the son is a reflection on the father. Great communication uses story that people are familiar with, or see themselves in and uses it as a way to communicate a memorable principle.
- Become a Good Listener. Communication is a two way street. In order to ensure others are listening to us, it’s important that we are listening to them. Pastor Michael Durso from Christ Tabernacle once said, “God gave us two ears and one mouth cause we should listen twice as much as we talk.” Being a good listener gives us the information we need to become a good communicator.
You Can Be Better
So the list above is just the beginning of becoming a better communicator and a better leader.
As I stated earlier, take the above and practice, practice, practice. It’s not an exhaustive list but it can help you be better.
Know I’d love to hear from you, what communication tips do you have?