The delivery of the message is more than half the battle, especially in leadership. Of course what you say matters, but how you say it, how you relate to people, is what differentiates great leaders from the pack. That means you can have innovative ideas, indeed you must, but if you can’t deliver them in a way that connects with people and relates to them in a meaningful way, you won’t get results.
Over the years working with many CEO’s I’ve seen those that started out brash, aggressive and only worried about their success and driving results. That only gets you so far. The smart (and really successful ones) learned the importance and motivational impact of genuinely connecting with people in a meaningful way.
That transition doesn’t happen all at once, it’s a process of continuous improvement and the learning never really stops. So, wherever you are in your journey to the top, these 5 tips will help to improve your delivery so people will want to be a part of whatever it is you’re doing.
Look people straight in the eye and really “see” them. If you take one thing away from this post, this is the one. It’s huge. When you look someone straight in the eye, you’re initiating a potentially deep connection that can’t be achieved any other way. It also shows respect, i.e. there’s nothing more dismissive and demeaning than not “recognizing” someone by looking directly at them.
Increase your self-awareness. How you say things is more about how you feel than what you think. If people have trouble relating to you or respecting you, chances are you’re not as self-aware as you think you are. The only way to change that is to find out what employees, peers, and your boss like and don’t like about how you communicate. Being open to feedback is the only place to start.
Be direct and genuine. The big problem with political correctness is that it’s hard enough to be straightforward and direct with people as it is. The whole Political Correctness thing just adds layers of complexity that make it so much harder to be straightforward in a work environment. Actually, the more direct and genuine you are with people, the greater their sense of trust and the more respect they’ll have for you.
Executive presence isn’t about power and domination. This is perhaps the biggest misconception about executive presence. It doesn’t come from command and control, it comes from connecting and relating, from sharing your passion in a way that’s meaningful to others. It breaks down barriers.
Learn to be a storyteller. People relate to stories and storytellers. People don’t remember facts and figures or even logical arguments as well as they remember stories. They also find it easier to connect with storytellers. If you really want to relate to people in a deep way, tell them stories they can relate to.