After a long time, India has a Prime minister who appears convincing and apparently has a large following across all strata of the society. The main reason for his large following is his oratory skill, his ability to communicate, to connect with the people, the target audience. Communication skills are one of the major factors which can make or mar a leader. I had in an earlier blog, (Effective communication…..Key to success….) partly covered the importance of Communication in life in general. Good communication is one of the most important quality a leader must have irrespective of the field he / she is in (military, politics, business etc ).
Communication can be made in different ways, verbal, non- verbal and written. To be effective a leader should possess the art of communicating by all means. Most of the leaders are good in written communications but not everyone is a good orator.
There are many factors which combine together to make communication effective. The first and the foremost factor to be remembered is that communication is a two- way process. A leader must have the patience and will to hear to anyone and not be just conveying his views or directions. He must also understand that communication is only effective if what has been conveyed has been not just heard but understood as well by the audience.
To be understood, a leader /speaker not only has to speak clearly and be concise but also has to prepare himself well. Good preparation and in-depth knowledge of the subject being discussed, gives confidence to the speaker and helps him in conveying his points assertively. A speaker cannot be factually incorrect. Good preparation also gives the ability to speak extempore without referring to the script. An extempore speaker is always better received by the audience than someone who does not lift his eyes from his script.
Detailed preparation also helps the speaker/ leader in handling the questions / queries from the audience/ the other party. A leader/ speaker should never react to any question without giving a thought. A careful calibrated response is always the desired option. A leader should never be in a hurry to react, this at times may lead to embarrassment.
Engaging the audience is an art and is easier for someone speaking extempore. Good use of a positive body language, which generally is fostered by good preparation and grooming goes a long way in helping in engagement of the audience. Prime Minister Modi excels in extempore oratory and hence apt at holding the attention of the audience as for most part of the talk he maintains eye contact and exhibits a positive body language.
Building in realistic stories in a speech also helps in conveying a point. A speaker can use anecdotes, jokes, stories to which the audience can relate and understand his views better. It’s always better to use contemporary examples as compared to pulling out something from the history which today’s generation may not relate to.
A speaker should always keep the target audience in mind. The content matter of speech, the delivery style should vary as per the age, intellect level and expectations of the audience.
Non- verbal communication is as important as verbal communication and involves the body language and expressions. A lot can be conveyed by a listener / speaker through the facial expressions and effective use of body language.
A leader should not just be adept at criticism but also good in conveying appreciation. Appreciation can be conveyed in person or even a small written note on letters or a smily drawn can also have the desired effect. While appreciation /good news may be conveyed in any form but care should be taken while conveying the bad news and condolences. People use make extensive use of social media to convey condolences, but this should not be the norm. Bad news and condolences should always be conveyed in person, as far as possible.
Communication is an art and more than the language you use or your vocabulary, its effectiveness is dependent on your control over your thoughts, your confidence and the attitude. I have seen speakers, in their zest of showing off their mastery over the language (specially English) badly failing to connect with the audience. Do not expect the audience to be carrying a dictionary or a thesaurus to understand what you are trying to convey. The best mantra for success is to keep the speech simple, sprinkled with adequate humour in between. The humour you use must relate to the subject you are talking about, it should not appear forced.
Good communication is not just a must in office but at homes also. It helps in developing, maintaining and sustaining good relationships.