Many business leaders are brilliant strategists. They execute flawlessly, they differentiate their products and services and stay steps ahead of the competition. But some of these same brilliant strategists have an Achilles Heel: they can think strategically but cannot communicate strategically.
When a leader has a vision for his or her company, but does not communicate it effectively, that vision might remain just an idea and never get acted upon. To effectively verbally communicate ideas so employees can execute, leaders might consider three highly effective personal communication strategies.
These can be used for face-to-face and small group meetings, webinars, and even voicemail.
1. Start with a Purpose Statement. Why are you communicating? Everyone wants to know what a speaker will be talking about. State your main idea for communicating within in the first few minutes: We are going to examine our go-to-market strategy with our partners, or Today we will discuss the succession plan we have developed for our management team.
A clear and concise purpose is critical for audience understanding. It also shows your team that you are an organized and pragmatic leader.
2. Structure Ideas. Audiences, especially business audiences, like structure. They like a clear opening, a middle and an end. One key is to use numbers to structure your talk. For example, Today we are going to examine our go-to-market strategy with partners. First, we will start by outlining our marketing strategy; second, our incentive programs, and finally, we will end with our outlook for the next quarter.
Sounds elementary, but so many leaders just start down in the details without outlining and structuring ideas first. It is a basic courtesy to the listeners and also a hallmark of a highly effective communicator.
3. State Main Ideas Succinctly. When you introduce an important concept, announce the main idea in simple terms. No more than five seconds! For example, a concise five-second statement might be: Our go-to-market strategy is critical to our partners. Then explain why and how it is critical.
Here is an example of a poorly stated main idea: We have worked on our go-to-market strategy for some time now and had input from many of you in the room as well as our partner community, and we feel we now have a strategy that is compelling not only for us and our partners, but for our customers both in North American and the Asia Pac region as well.
Do you know what the main idea is? Could you even remember all these concepts? The longer your main idea is, the less chance the audience will understand it. If they cannot understand, it is hard for them to execute on it.
Organized communication, logically structured, and stated concisely will help you earn the reputation of an effective communicator and leader. Most importantly, it will enable your employees to more easily execute on your ideas.