3 More Power Cues for Leadership Communication

4_3-more-power-cues-for-leadership-communicationI’ve been reading and sharing about how leadership communication can create more powerful impact with people. In my last post, I shared the first two of the seven power cues from author Nick Morgan in Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, Persuading Others, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014):

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Non-verbal communications
  3. Unconscious messages
  4. Leadership voice
  5. Social signals
  6. Reprogramming the unconscious
  7. Synchronizing with stories

Here are three more power cues that leaders can practice to improve the impact of communications:

#3. Unconscious Messages
Read others’ unconscious messages. Observe your own mirror-neuron experiences. Become aware of and attuned to the unconscious messages that are present by everyone around you.

#4. Leadership Voice
Vocal awareness can help you fine-tune your voice to a commanding instrument that helps you take charge of a room. You will be better equipped to lead your peers.

Each of us emits low-frequency sounds when we speak — tones that help convey our leadership presence. People unconsciously defer to leaders who produce stronger low-frequency sounds.

You can learn to increase your vocal leadership potential through breathing dynamics, vocal exercises and practicing vocal tonality. Some leaders choose to work with a voice coach.  I have, and the experience was enlightening.

#5. Social Signals
The fifth power cue combines your voice and a variety of other social signals to greatly increase your success in pitches, meetings, sales situations and the like. Are you aware of what signals you send out in work and social situations? Become aware of and establish the right levels of energy and passion to win the contract, negotiation a raise or ???.

MIT researchers have pinpointed four patterns of behavior that predict success or failure in key human interactions:

  1. Influence
    Boost your positional power, emotion or expertise. Control the give-and-take tempo of a conversation.
  2. Mimicry
    Consciously copy others and then lead them.
  3. Activity
    Focus more intently on the conversation, meeting or presentation.
  4. Consistency
    Increase your consistency to gain support; decrease it to show openness.


What ideas here have your tried? I think they make perfect sense, but like many good ideas, they’re only good when put into practice. Great leadership communications don’t always come easily. What ideas here are you going to try for yourself?

In the work I do coaching people, we examine the possibilities and design action steps.

Like anything, deliberate practice creates progress; but easier said than done. Working with a coach is essential for the accountability and long term change of habits.

Got questions? Let’s talk.


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