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Becoming an inspirational communicator

“I’ve said it over and over. I've told my people how to carry themselves at work. I’ve laid out simple guidelines to create a great environment for our customers. But no matter what I say, they seem more concerned with how much they can get away with, rather than how they can contribute.”

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Darren spoke quietly. The weight of this subject was literally making it difficult for him to muster the strength to continue.

“I’m at a total loss. When I try to communicate my vision and explain the steps needed to get there, all they hear is a list of the minimum requirements they have to perform in order to keep their jobs. It’s wearing me out.”

I understood. As an E-Myth coach I knew exactly what he was experiencing. I could feel his distress and I knew what he needed to hear. But it wasn’t easy.

“Darren” I said, “you spend a lot of time talking to your people, right?”

“Yeah.” He agreed.

“Good. That’s a great start! But I need to remind you of something. Simply talking to your people is not necessarily communicating with them.”

Communicating like a leader

Great leaders have been, almost without exception, great communicators – though not necessarily great speakers. The main address at the Gettysburg battlefield dedication ceremony was two hours long, delivered by the best known orator of the day, Edward Everett. But it was the brief speech immediately following, given by President Abraham Lincoln, that is celebrated today as one of the grandest, most sublime and most moving utterances ever spoken.

Everett was a great speaker. Lincoln was a great communicator.

Effective leadership is vital, but effective leadership can’t happen without communication.

What did you say?

Leaders must communicate on two fronts: informational communication and inspirational communication. Both are vital and both are needed; but in order of precedence, inspirational communication has primacy. Inspirational communication is less about style than it is about substance. And even more than substance, it is about spirit.

Spirit and passion.

If you, as the leader of your organization, can effectively impart the spirit and passion of your vision, you will have accomplished far more than any amount of information could achieve. This is the realm where so many leaders stall.

The source of inspirational communication comes from the heart, not the head. It is based on the vision a leader has for his business, and it is conveyed on a level that surpasses and transcends the brain. It is more heart than head. More engaging than informing.

As a business owner who must take on the mantle of true leadership, you must be willing to find your voice – and use it.

How do you find your voice?

Would you know your own “voice” if you heard it?

Maybe not. But, chances are that you’ve heard it before, regardless of whether or not you recognized it.

Think of a time when you felt inspired by something. Think of a movie you watched, or a charitable deed you did. Think of anything that has happened in your life that moved you. Moved you to laugh. Moved you to cry. Moved you to simply smile in excitement. Whatever it may have been, that feeling you experienced was your “voice” talking to you.

All you have to do is let that voice out.

In the privacy of your office, think of the aspects of your business that inspire you. Why does it excite you to add a new product line? Why will implementing a new system create a better work environment?

Record the keywords that pop-up in your mind. It doesn’t matter how silly they may sound to you. Write them down and recall them later when you want to inspire your people.

It doesn’t matter if your people don’t plan to make a lifetime career with you; if you’re overflowing with excitement, soon they will be too.

Inspiration is contagious.

There are many books and courses that purport to teach leaders how to “communicate effectively.” They offer valuable tricks and techniques. But when all is said and done (and usually more is said than done!)  nothing can replace the improvement that comes from simply “doing it” – practicing and constantly honing your inspirational communications skills.

Here are some essential elements for becoming a more effective and inspirational communicator in your business:

1.    Head and Heart: practice mixing  logic with feeling so that you appeal to your audience’s rational minds while also touching them emotionally.  Remember: head and heart.  Tell them a story about an experience you had that epitomizes the theme you want them to associate with. 

2.    Simplify your message: this is not “dumbing down,” but rather distilling the essence of your communication so that it is accessible to everyone in your audience.  Avoid cliché or corporate-speak.  Use real words; as you would in a normal conversation.  You will not dazzle people with your business vocabulary; more likely than not, they’ll simply assume you don’t want them to understand.

3.    Know your audience: Just as you want to know everything you can about your best customers, you want to have an understanding and appreciation for your employees and be able to meet them where they are.  People are not going to listen unless it is clear that you are actually talking to them.

4.    Listen: effective communication is a two-way dynamic, not a monologue.  Mastering the art of listening and truly “hearing” your audience is essential to being heard. Every genuinely great performer acknowledges the critical contribution made by their audience; they are not set apart from one another – they are breathing together and feeding each other with attention.  Don’t be afraid to take a breath, look around, “read the room,” and resume with fresh focus.

5.    Be able to share difficult truths: the ability to communicate hard news or challenging situations is key to establishing and maintaining integrity; while it may be difficult, your audience will much more readily trust the message if they trust the messenger.

Purpose, when fueled by a vision and executed with passion, is a powerful tool. What was previously a corporate pep-talk becomes a barely contained torrent of energy and excitement! When you learn to identify, channel and express a passion and a purpose, the words will find their way out. And you will find, often to your own astonishment, that it is not the power of your words that accomplishes the goal, but the power in your words!


EMyth Team

Written by EMyth Team

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