Dianna Booher

Dianna Booher works with organizations to improve their productivity through clear communication and with individuals to increase their impact by a stronger executive presence.

If you’re a leader, a healthy dose of fear can be a good thing. In fact, if fear doesn’t push you to take a risk, to up your game, to push to top performance, you may hit rock bottom in your career. That’s especially true if you’re plan to speak before large groups of employees, customers, or colleagues.

Speaking can be a high-stakes proposition in the age of Periscope, Instagram, and live Facebook or Twitter feeds out to the world. Audience members do not take kindly to an unprepared rambler wasting their time on irrelevant topics.

The new CEO wanted to slug it out of the ballpark at his first all-hands meeting. Employees were watching the broadcast from around the globe. Obviously, engaging those assembled in the auditorium in front of him would be much easier. But he didn’t want to miss the first opportunity to gain their confidence that he could handle the job vacated by his predecessor.

Leadership has been the tip of everyone’s tongue of the last decade. From convention keynoters, to coaches, to political pundits, everyone insists they want a cadre of leaders to carry out their mission.

So for all the talk, techniques, training, and tips on the leadership topic, you’d think managers, executives, and professionals at all levels would have the concept down pat by now.  Not so.  A few are still off track.

Leadership Defined: It’s NOT a Position

Leaders think strategically, understand the critical link between focus and clarity, and appreciate the value of time.  So fewer and fewer are inclined to let others waste their time. Brevity has become a basic communication skill for professionals.

Here are six best practices as a leader:

Be brief when speaking off-the-cuff. Lectures are for the classroom. Make your point and move on. 

Both the CFO and the CEO stuck their hand into the air as I concluded my keynote and called for questions. “Why don’t employees communicate up in an organization?” There was a little more than a twinge of frustration in the CEO’s question.  The CFO added his nod of dismay.

It’s a common conundrum in the C-suite—even from the brightest leaders in the boardroom.  The issue deserves serious thought because when downward communication dominates, problems go unresolved and innovation stalls.

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