7 Easy Ways to Improve your Leadership Communication Skills

Delivering successful leadership communication is an core skill for a professional.  Whether you’re presenting to clients, investors or colleagues, you must communicate clearly and effectively. That’s why we all need to improve our leadership communication skills.

As a business leader, you need to learn how to develop effective leadership communication skills. These tips from our team of experts will help you.

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1.         Plan and prepare

The first step to improving communication skills in leadership is to plan and prepare thoroughly.  Try using this simple AIM guide.

A is for your AudienceUnderstanding the needs and preoccupations of your audience is crucial to delivering an effective leadership communication.  You should have a clear idea of who they are, what matters to them, what level of knowledge they have – and what they’re expecting from your talk.  By tailoring your content to your audience, you’ll create a more engaging and impactful presentation.

I is for your Intent.  What do you want your audience to think, say, do or understand after your presentation?  Are you trying to persuade them to take some kind of action, or simply inform them about something?  Having a well-defined objective from the outset will ensure your messaging is clear, concise and relevant.

M is for your Message.  What’s the one thing that summarises your talk – the main argument or ‘takeaway’?  Once you’ve identified that, decide on the three key messages you want to support your argument and set out to prove them with the relevant facts, statistics, examples and stories.

Read more about how to plan a presentation.

2.         Practise

The most accomplished leaders leave nothing to chance.  They practise constantly.  The more you practise your presentation, the more confident and comfortable you’ll feel delivering it.  If you really want to develop effective leadership communication skills then practise in front of a mirror, by recording yourself, or better still in front of colleagues.  

This will help you identify the things you need to improve, like your pacing, tone, or body language.  It will also help you memorise the most important parts of your communication, making it easier to deliver without relying on notes.  Practice is the very best way to improve your business presentation skills.

3.         Engage your audience

Engaging your audience is critical to delivering a successful leadership communication.  Try to put yourself in their shoes.  What do they want to hear from you?  What matters to them?  How can you show you care about their needs?  What kind of language will resonate with them?  Unless you’re invested in them, they won’t be invested in what you say.  Try these techniques:

  • Ask questions: this will encourage audience participation and help you gauge their understanding of your topic.
  • Tell stories: we may forget facts and statistics, but we all remember stories.  They’re often the most powerful way to make your message memorable and relatable.
  • Use humour: this is a really effective way to break the ice and lighten the mood.  Don’t try to tell jokes – just find personal stories that will amuse your audience and warm them to you.
  • Bring props: make your presentation interactive.  Bring a product and pass it around while you talk about it.  Put a startling image up on the screen.  Wear something unusual to illustrate a change of behaviour.  Try to be creative, rather than just relying on PowerPoint slides.

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4.         Be authentic

The more authentic you are, the more natural you’ll appear to your audience.  It will help you build trust and establish credibility.  There’s nothing more irritating to an audience than someone putting on an act or trying too hard to be funny or dramatic. 

To improve communication skills for effective leadership speak in a conversational tone, use personal anecdotes, show genuine enthusiasm for your topic.  And avoid using jargon, acronyms or buzzwords – they’ll instantly disengage your audience if they don’t understand them.

5.         Learn from the experts

You have many books, courses, and workshops available to help improve your essential leadership communication skills.  Watch videos of leaders to see how they deliver their messages and engage their audiences.  TED talks are a great resource for this.  Also, tune in to themoth.org  for examples of great storytelling. Or even better, call us in for an intensive tailored bit of coaching. You’ll be transformed within a few short hours.

6.         Use visual aids

Visual aids, including slides and videos, can help make your leadership communication more engaging and memorable.  But use them sparingly and make sure they’re relevant to your message.  Above all, don’t become a slave to PowerPoint – remember, it’s there to support not distract from what you’re saying. 

Keep your slides simple and visually appealing, with clear headings, a consistent colour scheme and font – and as few bullet-points as possible!

7.         Get feedback and refine

Once you’ve delivered your communication, evaluate its success and identify areas for improvement.

You can improve your leadership communication skills by gathering feedback from your audience or colleagues.  Ask for constructive criticism and be open to suggestions for improvement.  If your talk was recorded, watch it back and review your notes to identify any areas where you stumbled or lost your thread.

Remember, you are your communication.  No matter how impressive your slides, visual aids, props and illustrations, your audience is primarily there to watch and listen to you.  Many business leaders never use slides or props at all, instead relying on the power of their message and delivery.  Whichever approach you take, be yourself, be authentic and enjoy it!

And if you really want to improve your leadership communication skills, call us. With just a few hours of intensive instruction you will transform how you present.

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About Benjamin Ball Associates

Benjamin Ball Associates  Presentation skills coaching team

At Benjamin Ball Associates, we help our clients to communicate better. You get presentation coaching for executives.

Over 15+ years the award-winning BBA team has coached thousands of senior executives globally to present powerfully. You get access to a transformational toolbox of presentation skills & techniques to help you become a clear, confident communicator.

We’ll help you create a powerful first impression that hooks and engages your audience immediately, and we’ll transform you to deliver clearly, confidently and with impact.

Speak to Louise on +44 20 7018 0922 or email louise@benjaminball.com to find out more and discuss transforming your speeches, pitches and presentations.

Contact us for a free consultation on your coaching needs

Contact us for a free consultation on your coaching needs

Contact us for a chat about how we can help you with your presenting.

Let's talk about your presentation training needs

Contact us for a chat about how we can help you with your presenting.

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