Leadership is about having vision. However, that’s only half the battle. If you want to succeed as a leader you need to be able to present your vision in a way that inspires and drives others to help you achieve it, particularly when the going gets tough.
Your presentation skills, or in other words how you communicate, are therefore extremely important. Indeed, research by Peter Miller found that a leader spends 75% – 90% of their time communicating. He argues that ‘everything a leader does to influence others involves communicating’ and ‘good communication skills are the foundation of effective leadership.’ Essentially, these are what you should focus on first when it comes to your development as a leader. Only then should you turn to attributes such as higher-level team and strategic skills that are more readily considered leadership skills.
You could be communicating one-on-one to direct reports or on mass to your employees, shareholders or other external stakeholders. In either case, as a leader you must make sure your presentation skills are accomplished enough to ensure the message you are delivering resonates appropriately in all these instances.
Here are some key pointers to help you achieve this.
Know that everyone can learn to communicate better
In a blog he authored on the importance of communication, Richard Branson asserts that “Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess. We have certainly relied on it to drive the success of the Virgin story.”
Taking this one step further, motivational speaker Brian Tracy believes that…
“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”Brian Tracy, Motivational Speaker
“Communication is a skill that you can learn. It’s like riding a bicycle or typing. If you’re willing to work at it, you can rapidly improve the quality of every part of your life.”
So being able to communicate well – and by association have effective presentation skills – is not a gift bestowed on the lucky few. It is something we can all accomplish. So, if you are someone whose communication and presentation skills need work, then make a commitment today to devote time and effort to develop them. It will improve your effectiveness as a leader and enhance other areas of your life too.
Know your audience
It has become accepted that to sell a product or service effectively, businesses should spend time understanding their target audience. The same applies to you as a leader wanting to influence and engage others. You should take the time to really understand the groups of people that you are conveying your message to. What are you trying to get them to do? Which content and messaging will resonate most? What would be the most effective way to present it?
Never make assumptions
Following closely from the previous point, when planning what you are going to say make sure you pitch it at the right level for the people you are communicating to. As Lauren Hug, author of the Manager’s Guide to Making Presentations advises when planning what you are going to say, you should make sure you don’t ‘lose your audience by assuming knowledge they don’t have.’
Believe in yourself and what you are trying to achieve. Your self-belief will shine through to those you are trying to engage and influence. This is particularly so if the audience is a challenging one. If they sense any self-doubt, you’ll fail on both counts.
The words that follow are those of a storyteller rather than a leading management guru but they sum this point up well. As J.M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan, writes ‘The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it.’
We are touching on mindset as much as communication here but know the reason for your vision and the ideas that sit behind it. Why are they important to you? Why do you believe in them, and more significantly, why you want others to believe in them too?
Keep these in mind, especially for those occasions when your vision is challenged. If you keep your self-belief intact you are much more likely to take your audience with you, even if they are reluctant converts.
So why is this important?
Teams led by people who communicate with them effectively are more productive. It’s obvious when you think about it but there have been numerous studies to back this up. According to Gallup, poorly managed work groups are on average 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed groups. Salesforce claims that 96% of execs cite lack of collaboration of ineffective communications for workplace failures.
So, it makes absolute sense to invest in coaching to improve how you present yourself as a leader.
Why it’s worth investing in business and leadership coaching
Put simply, the return you’ll get from greater productivity of those working for you will offset any investment you make in coaching.
Coaching can be delivered one-to-one and Positive Consultancy’s Personal Impact Coaching provides proven high-quality coaching for leaders wanting sessions that are highly bespoke to them as individuals.
Coaching can also be delivered on a group level to leadership teams. Positive Consultancy’s Group and Team Coaching programme provide the perfect opportunity for leaders to enjoy coaching in a group environment.
Both cover everything from developing the right mindset and building the core presentation and communication skills to develop the leadership style that will make you a highly effective leader.
So, in the end, it doesn’t matter how strong a vision you have. If you lack the skills to present it in a way that inspires, engages and truly resonates with the groups of people you lead, then you are never going to lead them where you want to go.
Do you want to Improve your presentation skills or the effectiveness of your leadership?
Book a free consultation now and find out how we can help you get the results you’re looking for. Simply contact us to arrange a free, no-obligation 30 minute consultation. We look forward to helping you succeed.Book A Free Initial Consultation