Thursday 11 December 2014

Part 1: For Leaders, Communication Is Not Just Communication

You have been with the organization for over a decade. Your growth in the firm has been phenomenal. Your success quotient with people, process and project is way above average. Your potential and performance even got you to the advisory board. As a senior leader, you are the Go-To person for anything pertaining to your domain and strategic moves. Your work inspires many and yet, in spite of all your achievements you have never been invited to be a key speaker in seminars, leadership trainings or address large audience in Town halls. Did you ever wonder why?

As you grow up in the corporate ladder, did you ever realize that you had to work on your communication style, body language, regardless of whether your audience remained same or has changed? What you speak reflects how you think and your thinking has definitely changed over the years. How you say determine what impact you are likely to create. Positive impact is the desired outcome and if there is even the slightest of chance to damage that leadership image or impact on audience, why should you be invited to address an audience in large forums?

Here is a quick checklist of C’s for you to run through so that you can identify what is stopping you from getting those opportunities to speak in important platforms. You may work on remedies accordingly. (A list of remedies will be published soon)

Command on language: Is it your heavy accent? Do you fall short of right words due to limited vocabulary? Would you be more comfortable talking in your own mother tongue? Is it really about language in the first place? Do you abhor the spontaneity required in speaking and you think you are better off writing your thoughts? Fight this war out first before you do anything else to improve communication, as if it is language concerns, you have a huge task in hand. We all know fluency in language cannot be acquired overnight.

Crowd Conscious: Though you are well prepared for the speech, well rehearsed with multiple dry runs for the presentation, the sight of an enthusiastic crowd diffuses your spirit for the fear of letting them down or not living up to their expectations. Does the sight of a dais actually bring butterflies to your stomach? Who should we treat here then? Not the butterflies for sure. You are human and so are they. Get the intentions right – your key messages will not just penetrate the crowd but their minds too.

Circle of Influence: You have always been a great presenter. You address queries from the team effectively. Your storyboards are very well accepted, however you have a comfort zone with specific team members, clients, and small group of stakeholders. You sail through because you are able to influence them, get their buy in, relate to them. You believe, you might not be able to have similar control with a bunch of strangers or larger group.

Next in the series is on developing Competence

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