The Principle of Communication
The leader must be a communicator. The ability to communicate effectively through speech and writing is possible the leader’s most valuable asset. Seven rules of effective communication will help the leader develop that asset.
- Recognize the importance of effective communication. The leader is not just concerned with the words he/she says, but with the content his/her listeners perceive and the effect the content usually has as a result of his/her communication. The leader’s task is to create understanding. Effective communication overcomes isolation, is a factor in reproduction, tends to safeguard freedom of speech, and presents worthy thoughts worthily.
- Assess your audience. The foundation for carrying out all the other rules of effective communication is to assess your audience. Learn its demographic characteristics. Assess its attitude toward its environment and important issues, assess the audience’s attitude toward each other. Assess its attitude toward your subject. Assess your audience’s attitude toward you.
- Select the right communication goal. Having a goal clearly in mind will conserve time, accomplish the task more effectively, and then strengthen your leadership.
- Break the preoccupation barrier. Capture the audience’s attention. Earn the right to be hear. To break the preoccupation barrier, identify the leading problems the people in the audience are facing, promise a solution to those problems, and then fulfill that promise.
- Refer to the known, the audience’s experience. Only by referring to the experience of your audience will you develop credibility. To do this, you must acquire a repertoire of vivid general experiences common to the average person you lead.
- Support your assertions. Abstract ideas in themselves do not capture people’s attention. Abstract assertions should therefore be supported and brought to life through cumulation, restatement, exposition, comparison, general illustration, specific instance, and testimony.
- Motivate action by the appeal to desire. The leader wants action. He wants to effect change. The most effective way to do that is by an appeal to the dominant desire of the particular audience. The leader should appeal to his/her audience’s healthy self-interest, which can be expressed in needs of self-preservation, property, power, reputation, and affection. No one is a leader who cannot induce others to act, and no once can induce others to act if he does not employ an appeal to basic desires.
Make communication an ongoing study, your life-long passion and discipline. Through effective communication, you will out-achieve others who may be more intelligent or more personable, but who have not developed their communication abilities.
Adapted from, Lead On, by John Edmund Haggai