How Great Leaders Motivate: 5 Ways to Communicate Powerfully

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The ability to communicate powerfully is one of the most important skills a leader can develop and practice in order to motivate employees. To understand how to communicate powerfully, we first have to understand something about communication. Communication has been defined all sorts of ways. That’s because we can identify all manner of communication between people.

telephone cansLet’s define communication as it pertains to motivating employees.

Communication is the process of exchanging information that affects relationships between people.

It should be clear from this definition that in motivational communication, relationships are far more important than information. When leaders communicate, they must be keenly aware of how they affect the feelings or emotions of their employees. Because people are driven by emotion, workplace communication gets its power from emotion.

To motivate employees, leaders must communicate more powerfully and more often. Exceptional leaders address the big, tough, and important issues with emotionally driven calls to success.

Great leaders value emotion over logic and dreams over data when calling their forces to action. They stay positive and focus on the benefits of success as it applies to their teams as well as to the organization and the world.

Five Ways, Plus the Foundation

I could give you six tips, but the first is so fundamentally critical, that I make it a prerequisite. Call it belief, conviction, or Here it is:

Don’t even open your mouth until you believe what you propose to say.

Enshrine it. To be inspirational you need to believe and behave in a way that shows you know that what you say rises above the level and value of reason or logic. You can’t fake your conviction or inflate it beyond its actual value. You must believe what you say. Trust is your most precious communication and motivation asset. Never abuse it.

Armed with sincere conviction, you can now put the following five techniques into practice.

1. Think about your listeners

Powerful communication persuades by speaking to what’s in it for your listener. Before communicating, always ask yourself, what’s in it for them? Leadership Intimacy arms you with a keen understanding of what each of your employees needs to hear. Use it.

2. Address the big issues

Do not shy away from the tough stuff. And don’t fluff it. At the same time, speak to the emotional side of the issue. Consider how the setting will affect your audience. For example, deliver confidential information in a way that protects the privacy and maintains the dignity of those involved. Choose a quiet setting for bad news and maybe more public places for celebrations of success. Remember not everyone wants compliments in public.

3. Keep it future-focused

Even the bad news. That doesn’t mean sugar coat. If you can’t share ideas about how things can get better in the future and instill confidence that you and your team can overcome adversity, then get out. Ask about what can, could or should change and lead the way toward it.

4. Communicate more

Increase the amount and the frequency of your communication. No matter how effectively you communicate, the results fade. Powerful communication needs to be repeated to sustain its power. Make face-to-face meetings common rather than special.

5. Use a variety of methods

Think about the medium for each communication. Some message may need only an email. Messages of greater weight might begin with a group announcement, followed up with individual face time, then reminders such as emails. More importantly, think about the methods you use. Sometime directive communication is just right—explaining exactly what is needed. At other times; using an analogy, telling a story, or asking great probing questions are much better options.


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Helanie Scott
Helanie Scott
Helanie (pronounced yeh-LAH-nee) Scott, CEO and founder of Align4Profit in Dallas, Texas, has driven stunning leadership and cultural transformations for an impressive list of organizations. She has mastered the ability to connect with her audiences in the boardroom, classroom, on stage, or in one-on-one coaching sessions. Helanie’s Align4Profit clients rave at the way her engaging programs freshen outdated mindsets and deliver results-oriented, aligned action.

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