Laura Lloyd headshot Written by: Laura Lloyd

Speak like a leader

Effective communication is an essential quality of any leader worth following. There is no way to lead a team without seeking first to understand and then effectively communicating with them.  

Group of diverse leaders sitting around conference table talking about speaking like a leader

Here are 3 specific things you can work on to be effective in your communications as a leader:

Start by listening

Listening before saying anything is the best strategy any leader can have. Even when you think the other person is done talking, give a few minutes of silence to allow them time to fill the gap – and then listen. You should also try to repeat what you heard to ensure everyone’s on the same page and show that you were listening. 

Delete this one word

Leaders should delete the word “um” from their vocabulary. In fact, delete any filler words – “like” “you know” and “hmm.” These words offer nothing to the conversation and in fact, shows you are speaking without thinking first.

The definition of “um” is to express hesitation. Is that the executive presence you seek? It’s not for me. At Handler, we participate in an annual 21-day challenge to create a new positive habit and I chose to eliminate this word. Our team is so sensitive to the word now we count others’ “ums” when they speak to us. Eliminate this annoying word from your speech and experience the verbal effectiveness of a leader worth following! 

Practice empathy

Empathy is one of the most important qualities in a leader worth following, and matters most in communication with others. This allows you to not only think about whom you are speaking with but shows that you are thinking about them first. It allows you to approach a conversation calmly and in a way that relates to your audience – making your communication that much more effective. The more you can empathize with them, the more you can relate to them, and the better they will receive your message.

These are not easy things to incorporate into your communications, even as leaders. We could all use the practice in each of these 3 areas as we work to become more effective communicators.