The Art of Communication for Leaders: Try speaking from the heart.
We’ve all seen it before. A business leader, politician or some other public figure looks directly into a camera and tries to sincerely deliver a message from a teleprompter or from another pre-approved script. Sometimes it comes off without a hitch. Sometimes it’s so bad that it makes us squirm inside. More often than not, the last thing it comes off as is authentic and believable with the outcome having very little real impact on the targeted audience. But it doesn’t have to be that way if you’re willing to do one thing: open up and speak from your heart.
In leadership positions its just a simple fact that at some point you’re going to have to deliver a message through a camera to a mass audience, to a group of employees or to an audience with a very short attention span that doesn’t want to hear you drone on all day. Always remember what you say doesn’t have to come off sounding like a soundbite or a speech that’s been scripted and rehearsed which is basically exactly what words that have been written for you, edited and re-edited come off sounding like unless you’re an extraordinarily gifted communicator.
If you really want to connect with your audience whoever and wherever they may be don’t be afraid to go off script every now and again or even consider throwing the script out the window all together. As scary as it may be for some of us to speak unscripted in any setting I can tell you firsthand that it works for one simple reason. When your words are unscripted there’s no doubt in your audience’s mind whose words you’re speaking: they’re yours.
I’ve often shared with people sincerity is something which can’t be faked and is something that builds a bond of trust between you an your audience which is hard to break. Speaking in an extemporaneous, unscripted fashion also serves to connect you with your audience in another way in that its like walking a tightrope without a net. Not relying on a teleprompter or a script in today’s world is a bit unusual and it has the tendency to hold your audience’s attention due to the very real fact that you could stumble and fall flat on your face at any given moment. Call it living dangerously if you will but it works.
In today’s world the art of communication in many ways has become a dying art. The public is constantly bombarded with messages vying for their attention at an ever increasing rate. The ability for leaders to deliver clear and concise messages that move and motivate people through a haze of misinformation is now more critical than ever. Knowing how to set your message apart is an absolute key to success in any endeavor you undertake.
Messages delivered sincerely and from the heart may not be as catchy as the latest youtube video but they do one thing much better than any canned or contrived message will ever do: they resonate with your audience in a way that both touches their heart and causes them to think. And that’s what sets them apart.