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Executive Presence Starts with Good Communication

Posted on December 9, 2010 by Leslie Dickson

We often get to a position of authority in an organization based on specific skills – marketing know-how, problem-solving abilities, technical competence. A number of clients come to VoicePRO® when they reach the executive level and find that the skills that got them to the top aren’t enough anymore.  Once the ability to keep a team on track is the priority, communication becomes a crucial success factor.

7 Strategies to Boost Your Effectiveness as a Leader

1. Does everyone understand the big picture? If you’re new to an organization or there’s been a recent shift, you’ll want to be sure everyone understands the vision, mission, strategy, goals, and expectations.  Be sure to cover not just the “what”, but also the “why” of the plans.  When people can connect reasons to actions, they’re more likely to comply and achieve success.

2. Once is not enough. So you had the kick-off meeting for the new organizational plan.  Everyone got the workbook.  There were lots of understanding nods.  Mission accomplished, right? Wrong.  As a leader, you’re the keeper of the flame.  It’s easy for big-picture ideas to get lost in the day-to-day shuffle.  Maybe you need monthly or quarterly update sessions with your team.

3. Not all communication is formal. A VoicePRO® colleague who teaches at a major university tells me that his president invites a small group of faculty to an informal monthly lunch.  The more casual atmosphere lets the president communicate one-to-one in a large, complex organization.  The attendees tend to make a more personal investment in the organizational goals.

4. Look for teachable moments. It’s the hundreds of everyday occurrences that add up to achieving organizational goals.  Even a small job done well is an opportunity to highlight how individual action matters to the whole.

5. Remember to talk to your customers and your management, too. If your company is small enough, consider making a phone call to your customers. They want to know what the company is doing, how it will benefit them.  Be sure to listen, too!  And treat your supervisors like customers, too.  Don’t assume that your accomplishments are visible to everyone.  Create an opportunity to check your progress against expectations.

6. Find a story to make your point. When you’re trying to give an audience (of 1 or 1000) a clear picture, a story can be stronger than a stack of data.  Time and again, attendees at our VoicePRO® program Executive Presence: Engaging Others report positive results. The story of the customer who left a competitor because of your great service adds memorable power to the 5-point service philosophy. The tale of the founder’s brainstorm that launched your company creates a culture of innovation.

7. The saying, “No news is good news” doesn’t apply. In fact, it’s often just the opposite. In a vacuum, your staff and colleagues are more likely to assume the worst – the business is in trouble, you’re making decisions without them or some other problem is afoot.  Tell people something – even when there’s not much to tell. Think about the night watchmen who used to walk the streets, giving the news to townspeople, “The time is 10 pm and all is well.”

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