Communication Has Little to Do With What We Say

Monday, January 17, 2011

One major characteristic that is common to great leaders, and one that I would be so bold to state that all great leaders possess, is their ability to communicate to a wide variety of audiences. A great leader has the capacity to connect with people in a way that others can't. I do not believe that this is a talent given at birth, though some may have a natural ability to do so. I have found that this is a characteristic that is learned, and if you learn how to develop this characteristic, you can become a great leader as well.

I believe that communication has very little to do with public speaking style or ability. I know many pastors who possess very little public speaking skills but are excellent communicators and have a uncanny ability to connect with their audiences despite their poor public speaking skills. I also know leaders who are incredible orators yet can't seem to connect with people beyond the pulpit. So what is it that distinguishes them? The great leaders spend their time and energy not in developing great sermons or speeches, but in learning how to speak the language of the people they are speaking to. Two people can say the exact same thing verbatim, yet only one may actually communicate and connect with their audience. The one that connects understands that communication is ALWAYS two-way.

When a missionary feels a call to a specific country the first thing he or she does is begin to study the culture of the people they will soon minister to. In fact, the first year spent on the ground is spent in language school. They understand that they will never be successful until they first learn to speak their language. This is basic Leadership 101. Whether you are a missionary, a CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a department manager in a small business, or a pastor in a local church, your speaking skills will only get you so far. If you want to successfully lead anyone you must first learn how to speak their language. If the people under you question your ability to understand them or that you care about them, then it doesn't matter what you have to say. They simply won't listen. However, if they know that you listen to them and understand them, and if you spend time investing in them personally, they will follow you wholeheartedly because you have won their trust. They don't trust you because you have a doctoral degree hanging in your office. They trust you because they know you genuinely care about them.

Yes, we need to hone our speaking skills and study diligently before we stand up to the pulpit. But even more so, in the days leading up to then we must spend our time walking side by side with those we are speaking to, wining their trust. Only then will we be considered great leaders.

1 comment:

Dakota said...

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Have a blessed day!

In Christ,

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