Developing Leadership Skills Through Language
Language is the oldest form of communication and is one of the most important to hone while developing leadership skills. Cavemen started off with grunts with facial and body movements. Your leadership communication skills can set you apart as a speaker. By choosing the right verbiage and delivery style you will gain your audience’s attention and develop your personal brand as a speaker. How you use language while developing leadership skills will directly impact your self-confidence. Being a great public speaker can be useful in other areas of your life – you might be asked to make a speech at a wedding or give a eulogy.
How Developing Leadership Skills by Shattering “Glossophobia” can propel your career
Glossophobia, or speech anxiety, is defined by Google as fear of public speaking. If you want to advance your career as a leader in your company, how you present yourself can define you as a successful facilitator. Whether you are leading a team which requires you to make daily presentations to management and to your team or presenting to an auditorium full of CEO’s, being able to speak comfortably and naturally will gain you a reputation of being a leader. To be successful, whether presenting face to face or online, you need to be a fearless engaging speaker/presenter. As you grow your skills as a speaker or facilitator, you will develop more self-confidence. High self-esteem gives you the confidence to be comfortable presenting to one person or a crowd. Whether you are just beginning your career or already a successful leader, you will find the following helpful in overcoming that paralyzing fear of speaking to / in a group.
- Planning – be prepared by having a structure to your presentation. You know how important it is for the first paragraph of a novel to grab the reader’s attention – so your opening remarks must grab your audience. These are some helpful tools you can use : The Rhetorical Triangle, Monroe’s Motivated Sequence and 7Cs of Communication. Planning is also useful in general as you develop leadership skills in other areas.
- Practice – you all know that old adage “Practice makes perfect” and nowhere is it more important than public speaking/presenting. Practicing will get your “presenter muscles” in shape so you will present as a relaxed leader who is confident and knowledgeable. Developing leadership skills is just like working out at the gym. When under stress muscle memory takes over. In order to develop that all important muscle memory you must take every opportunity to practice your presentation. You may begin by simply presenting to yourself in the mirror – very safe! Is it possible for you to present in front of smaller groups at your company? Can you do a presentation to all the different departments within your organization? Be sure to ask for feedback at the practice presentation. Remember language involves listening. Taking the time to practice your speech/presentation will help you advance as a leader. Practice so you don’t have any issue with technology, which will make you look incompetent, not like a leader who is prepared. Developing leadership skills requires thinking on your feet which is a skill a great leader must display. If you are new to public speaking, joining a group like Toastmasters will provide lots of opportunities and you will get lots of feedback. Keep notes of interesting topics you can use for your presentations. Have them handy if you do have to make presentations unexpectedly or on the spur of the moment. Keeping some pre-prepared ideas or speeches handy will help you do this with confidence.
- Engaging the audience – Being a great storyteller will captivate your audience, It is well known to sales leaders that stories sell. Marketers in all industries are spending billions of dollars trying to tell stories that sell. Developing leadership skills through storytelling will set you up for recognition as a leader in your field. Think of how many times you have heard a really great speaker tell a story and then you have retold their story, maybe using it to make a point in one of your presentations. Share a personal experience. Making it personal will help your audience connect with you. If the opportunity presents itself use a compelling visual image that will stick with the audience long after they leave. Explain why the subject of your presentation is so important to you, and be genuine as this is another way the audience will connect with you. Use statistics and be sure to make them understandable to your audience. Avoid using industry terms if everyone in the audience isn’t familiar with them, Developing leadership skills means using a communication style that makes your audience feel connected to you and other audience members. As your skills of engagement grow you will become known as a leader and recognized for your leadership skills leading to more success.
Listening as a tool for developing leadership skills
You may be hearing. Are you listening? An important first step in developing leadership skills is to let go of judgements and keep an open mind. Being open minded allows you to see things from other peoples’ perspectives. A true open-minded leader is not looking for the right or wrong answer they are looking for the answer that works or doesn’t work. Developing leadership skills by combining an open mind with real listening skills will send you to a top leadership role in your organization. True leaders can satisfy their curiosity by asking questions and listening to the answers which means you learn things.While you are listening and learning, the other person or audience feels that you genuinely care about them and their ideas. If people feel you are approachable they know you are open to new ideas, that you see things from different perspectives and will feel comfortable bringing you information.
Language is one of the most important tools we have to be successful in society and it is especially important for leaders. Using language in developing leadership skills you will be a more confident and successful speaker/presenter.
Very best wishes for your every success,