Are Great Communicators only those who can speak in public?
See what makes a Great Communicator.
If you communicate well, you will always have an advantage. It’s the one thing that will always help you use your knowledge to get what you want.
Most people have the perception that anyone who can speak in public is a good communicator. While it is extremely useful to be able to speak in front of people, those who can, are not necessarily good communicators. They may not be good at using the right content, express their messages clearly, keep their audience engaged and interested, and so on.
If you are an entrepreneur, business owner, team leader or CEO, you will often need to speak or assign people to speak at meetings, pitches, training programs, seminars, and media events. Official spokespersons carry the responsibility of creating a good impression about the company they speak on behalf of. Communication plays a vital role here because they must be able to communicate their messages clearly and establish a good connect with their audience.
This blog can help you look for the key characteristics that make people good communicators so you can select the right people to communicate for your business. Where required, you can support them with specialized training to improve their communication levels. Note that people at senior positions are not always good communicators by default. Their seniority could be because of their knowledge and expertise in their field. The confidence they have in themselves can make them feel confident to speak in front of any audience, but when they do speak, they are not as good as you would expect them to be.
Before we discuss the three elements that make people good communicators – CLARITY, CONFIDENCE, and COMMAND -let’s take a quick look at why being able to speak in front of people does not necessarily make people good communicators.
People who speak confidently in front of people, often appear that way because they are in an environment they are familiar and comfortable with, or where they already enjoy some advantage. For example, speaking among colleagues and juniors, or industry events where their company is a leader.
However, if you put them in an unfamiliar environment, their communication style changes drastically. They appear unclear and hesitant, because now they are up for approval by an audience who doesn’t know them or owe them the response they expect. Answering tricky questions is even harder because many speakers don’t know how to provide clear, specific responses to questions in a few words. This happens most in media interviews, shareholder meetings or public forums, where questions can be asked about anything. You can never control what you will be asked, but you can have control over what you say. Therefore, being able to speak in public does not automatically qualify them to be good communicators.
Good and great communicators are comfortable in all environments and can adapt their communication for every audience.
“If two people are equality qualified and capable, the who is more likely to stand out, be heard, and grab the leadership spot, is the one who communicates better.” – Kais Rahimtulla, C School for Great Communicators.
Communicate with Clarity, Confidence, and Command. TM
This is the foundation of good communication which I focus on most when I’m coaching people to become great communicators. When you have total clarity of what you need to say and how to say it, your communication will automatically be clearly understood by your audience, whether you are speaking or writing. You can get clarity by answering the following three questions:
What is the objective of your communication?
What is the content of your communication?
What is the best way to deliver that content?
When people seek my advice to deliver a talk, I start by asking them what their communication objective is. Almost always, their response is something like, “I have to give a talk at an investment seminar,” or “I have to give a talk at my friend’s wedding.” These are the functional objectives. All I get from them is that they must give a talk – not write an article – and where they need to give it. It does not tell me what their talk is expected to make the audience know, act upon or benefit from, as the case may be.
This is where the other and equally important objective comes in that is almost never mentioned i.e., “The Result” objective. By thinking of your objective as a result, you will have more clarity of what you need to say and how to say it best. So when I ask them to try again with this in mind, they now express their objective as, “I need to share three best practices at an investment seminar to help investors create wealth steadily, even in weak markets.” “At Anil’s wedding, I must talk about the wonderful person and friend he is.” While you may already know this in your mind, being clear about what you want your audience to know, will help you focus on the words to achieve that. Try it: Replace “I have to give a talk at …… ,” with “I have to show people how they can know this through my talk at …… .”
If you have heard the expression “content is king,” it’s true. Content is the most important part of any communication, because that is what the audience will to respond to. If your content is not relevant and does not give the audience information they can use, think about or act upon, the objective of your communication is lost. Likewise, even the answers you provide to questions must address what the audience wants to know, not only what you what them to know.
Undoubtedly, good speakers can impress and influence their audience with good speaking techniques. But never ignore the power of content. The best way to realize why content is most important, is to think what would happen if your talk was cancelled and you were asked to submit it as a written speech or article instead. Now the audience only has your content to react to. Even if you are not good at writing but the information is interesting and relevant, it will serve the purpose. While you may prefer to speak because you can use dramatic effects to influence your audience, it’s the content that holds over everything, so always pay special attention to it.
Once you have clarity about the result you want and what you should say to achieve it, you will now need to think about the best way to express your content. This is where techniques of presenting and speaking come in. If you need to write for anything, you can improve that as well.
In a recent discussion on communication, I told the participants that I help people Communicate with Clarity, Confidence and Command. Someone asked me why I included “confidence,” because many people are confident.
Undoubtedly, many people are confident. In fact, I believe that most people are confident about themselves. But that does not make them good communicators as we discussed earlier in this blog.
The “confidence” I address in my communication coaching programs is the struggle many people have with preparing content for speeches, presentations, articles or marketing materials. In fact, many people find it difficult to clearly introduce their business and talk about what they do. Because of this, it appears that they are not confident about themselves, though they are experts at what they do and very sure of themselves. This “apparent” lack of confidence causes them to lose out on several business and leadership opportunities, despite being more knowledgeable and capable than their peers.
The three most frequent communication barriers people are not able to overcome easily are:
“I don’t know how to start.”
“I don’t know what to say.”
“I don’t know how to share my knowledge
in a clear and interesting manner.”
And that’s what I do. I help people learn the systems and techniques to confidently build and deliver great communication for any occasion. I don’t teach them how to be confident people because that’s what they already are.
Interestingly, some people have privately shared with me that they generally don’t feel confident about themselves. I think most people feel like this at some stage in their lives, especially in the earlier years when faced with education, career and relationship choices. Good communicators are in a better position to win over people and get what they want. When people respond well to their communication, they instantly begin to feel more confident about themselves. Being able to communicate with Clarity, Confidence, and Command is one of the best motivators and facilitators of self confidence.
When you are absolutely clear about what you will communicate, you’re ready to put the icing on your cake. In this phase, you can experiment with various techniques to improve your delivery in a manner that will engage and influence your audience. You can lead the audience the way you want; you can improvise; you can easily convert your communication to any written or spoken format. You can be more persuasive and you can be more bold in asking people to take the action you want them to take. Communicating with command is how leaders communicate that inspires people to action.
Good to GREAT COMMUNICATOR.
I believe that all people have the natural ability to be great communicators. I’d like to inspire everyone to aim for being Great Communicators over settling for just being good ones.
Whatever level of communication you are at, I can help you take that level higher, whether you need to improve how you speak or write. Go to Communication Mastery.