Some leaders are naturally great communicators and seem to intuitively know how to read and inspire followers. Others, well, at least in my work – coaching individuals, study and learn how to become masterful leadership communicators. The great news is that these are skills and techniques that can be learned and acquired.
“We create a leader to make us feel safe and to give us a group purpose or direction. Because, like a group of fish or birds or zebra, we need and want guidance.”
– Nick Morgan, Power Cues: The Subtle Science of Leading Groups, PersuadingOthers, and Maximizing Your Personal Impact (Harvard Business Review Press, 2014)
Everyone can be coached to learn how to communicate like as an inspirational leader – to know how to inspire and influence through powerful leadership messages. Most leaders I work with focus on reading their audience and then intentionally chose their words in crafting a great message. Inspirational leadership communication continues largely through nonverbal cues. It’s like a joyful dance with listeners.
We are more communal than we’d like to think. As humans evolved, we depended on one another for survival. Leadership was essential and instinctive. We knew whom we could trust for guidance, even before we mastered language.
Nonverbal communication was vital — and still is. Recent scientific breakthroughs have changed conventional wisdom about how we communicate with others, how we interpret what they say and how we discern leadership potential. Some of the more interesting findings include:
- We gesture before we consciously think about doing so.
- Our brain’s mirror neurons fire when we observe others experiencing emotions, and we wind up experiencing similar feelings. These “contagious emotions” allow us to connect with one another, experience empathy and anticipate thoughts.
- If you lose your ability to process emotions, you’ll also lose your capacity to remember or decide anything.
- You emit low-frequency sounds that align with the most powerful person near you through matching vocal tones.
- When you’re involved in a negotiation, the measurable nonverbal signals associated with your confidence level more accurately predict success or failure than the relative merits of your position or words.
- Neurons are distributed throughout your body, not just in your brain. Sensitive neurons live in the heart and gut.
- When you communicate with someone else, your brain patterns align — even if you happen to disagree.
These findings are critically important to anyone who aspires to excel and become and inspirational leader. Your influence expands when you harness the power tools of unconscious communication: your body language, hand gestures, facial expressions and vocal qualities.
Always remember that people are naturally drawn to leaders who establish trust and confidence through powerful authentic communication cues. These unconscious elements affect the messages you send and receive.
These are tools we don’t think about. The point I’m making is that leaders need to be conscious about them, practice them and become aware of them so that they can shift them to create the desired responses.
Working with a coach, receiving feedback, you can greatly improve the impact of
your conversations, presentations, and meetings through mastering your
In my next post, I’ll share with you seven communication cues you can master to create more powerful leadership messages. In the meantime, if you have questions, let’s talk.