Inspiring and Energizing with Strong Verbal CommunicationsBy: Jim Clemmer
"Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep saying it."We can’t inspire and energize people with memos, mission statements, data and analysis, charts, goals and objectives, measurements, systems, or processes. These are important factors in improving performance. But that's management, not leadership. People are inspired and aroused by exciting mental pictures of a preferred future, principles or values that ring true, and being part of a higher cause or purpose that helps them feel they're making a difference.
Highly interconnected with and dependent upon a leader’s ability to provide Focus and Context is his or her communication skills — especially verbal skills. When I was eighteen and starting my Culligan career I took a Dale Carnegie sales course. I followed that with their public speaking course. Both had a major impact on my leadership performance. I came to realize that learning the basic persuasion skills of clarifying and simplifying what we're trying to say, tuning into our audience, and grabbing them by the handles of their emotions, is critical to effective leadership.
When I look at the effective leaders I've met that inspire, energize, and arouse people to improved performance, they are all effective speakers. Some are charismatic and dynamic orators. Others are soft-spoken and almost shy. But without exception, they can stand in front of a large or small group and express themselves with a clarity, conviction and credibility that stir their audience or group members' feelings and emotions.
Effective leaders continually improve their verbal skills. Here’s some of the supporting research and observations showing that strong verbal communication skills are critical to effective leadership:
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