Communication techniques in the spotlight

Veronica Allardice

Veronica is one of the founders of Theatre of Leadership, which combines voice, speech and performance training with leadership development approaches to break new ground in preparing inspirational leaders and communicators for today’s media savvy and constantly challenging business world.

A survey conducted by the Australian Financial Review> with some of Australia’s senior business decision makers last year identified communication as the most important skill for leaders as they grapple with huge challenges created by an increasingly technologically savvy, global, fast changing business environment.

With that in mind, here are our five leadership communication tips for CMOs:

1. Grow your personal presence on the corporate stage How is it that some people attract our attention by their very presence? Something about them fixes our interest and holds our attention. We are drawn to them. Great presence keeps us paying attention. It sustains our fascination and creates a positive expectation.

As a leader your presence is unique. It comes from within. It starts with an inner state. There is a lot we don’t know about the alchemy of presence, but presence is teachable. We do know some techniques that can amplify it, thanks to our theatre training.

People read a composite picture of you – this includes the way you look, sound, move, the words you use, your facial expressions, your attitude and energy levels. In the first seven to nine seconds, we set off a chain of chemical reactions in others ranging from confidence, reassurance to fear and foreboding. In less than 90 seconds people decide whether to withdraw, reject, or trust us enough to engage with us. To be a great leader, you need to work on your presence.

2. Be inspiring

All leadership is a form of theatre. It is a social act. As a leader, you are centre stage. People want you to be authentic, dynamic, uplifting, interesting, trustworthy, confident and, above all, inspiring. Every leadership interaction offers the opportunity to transport people from the realm of self-interest and ‘the ordinary’ into the realm of possibility and the ‘extraordinary’. Leaders help define dreams that people (and businesses) can live into. As the drama of change plays out on our workplace stages, leaders without empathy, the ability to inspire, improvisational skills and a well-honed repertoire of leadership styles to suit different occasions, will struggle to bring about best performance in themselves and in others.

3. Your voice really does matter

Make no mistake, your voice and how you use it plays a powerful role in the emotional judgments people make about your personality, authority, trustworthiness and credibility at both an individual and company level. Your voice affects how people absorb, retain and are persuaded by your messages. It attracts peoples' attention and helps them keep tuned into us.

As a leader, you also need to consider your leadership voice from another perspective. What do you stand for? What makes you distinctive? What do people associate you with? As a leader in your field, what is your take on things? In other words, have you found your voice? Does it stand out? Is it unique?

Despite the pervasiveness of communication technologies, our voices clearly remain of paramount importance to us in our everyday expression and connection with others. We should never underestimate the power of our vocal delivery and vocal tone to attract or repel others to us, nor should we underplay the importance of who we are and what we speak for as leaders.

4.The future belongs to the makers of meaning

Today we are all drowning in information. Businesses and individuals are engaged in a battle for attention, meaning and relevance. Great leaders are meaning makers and the future belongs to them. They win the war for attention. They connect the dots; they see the links between multiple, complex and disparate ideas and construct arresting storylines or narratives to convey new meaning for people and businesses. Making meaning is an essential skill for leaders at any level. It is OK to develop the art of speaking in sound bites but leadership via contrived spin leads nowhere and leaves people scratching the surface looking for sustenance.

5. Learn to use energy

As a leader the way you orchestrate your energy is vital. This will vary according to the demands of the situation, your role, your personal preferences and particular strengths. The secret of energy is to know which kind is appropriate in which situation - passive or active, yin or yang - analytical, reflective, nurturing, driving or inspirational. By being aware of these different energies one is better able to decide consciously which energy to use in any given circumstance.

From our experience leaders do not often use a full range of energies either artfully or with effectiveness in order to fuel change efforts or inspire confidence and trust. Often leaders get stuck in one or two energy fields. They overplay the ‘good administrator’ energy of calm, cool and rational or they become the relentless driver or ‘warrior’ type focused on winning at all costs. If overused no energy is effective. Leaders also need to use a combination of nurturing and inspirational energy for a balanced style. The leaders that move us, inspire us and win our confidence and trust demonstrate the ability to effortlessly move through these different energy states. They release the best in us.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia or take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia.

Tags: Leadership strategies

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

State of the CMO 2020

CMO’s State of the CMO is an annual industry research initiative aimed at understanding how ...

More whitepapers

Latest Videos

More Videos

I found decent information in your article. I am impressed with how nicely you described this subject, It is a gainful article for us. Th...

Daniel Hughes

What 1800 Flowers is doing to create a consistent customer communications experience

Read more

Extremely informative. One should definitely go through the blog in order to know different aspects of the Retail Business and retail Tec...

Sheetal Kamble

SAP retail chief: Why more retailers need to harness data differently

Read more

It's actually a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed ...

FIO Homes

How a brand facelift and content strategy turned real estate software, Rockend, around

Read more

I find this very strange. The Coles store i shop in still has Flouro lights? T though this would have been the 1st thing they would have ...

Brad

Coles launches new sustainability initiative

Read more

Well, the conversion can be increased by just using marketing, but in general if you are considering an example with Magento, then it is ...

Bob

How Remedy is using digital marketing and commerce to drive conversion

Read more

Blog Posts

Why conflict can be good for your brand

Conflict is essentially a clash. When between two people, it’s just about always a clash of views or opinions. And when it comes to this type of conflict, more than the misaligned views themselves, what we typically hate the most is our physiological response.

Kathy Benson

Chief client officer, Ipsos

Brand storytelling lessons from Singapore’s iconic Fullerton hotel

In early 2020, I had the pleasure of staying at the newly opened Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. It was on this trip I first became aware of the Fullerton’s commitment to brand storytelling.

Gabrielle Dolan

Business storytelling leader

You’re doing it wrong: Emotion doesn’t mean emotional

If you’ve been around advertising long enough, you’ve probably seen (or written) a slide which says: “They won’t remember what you say, they’ll remember how you made them feel.” But it’s wrong. Our understanding of how emotion is used in advertising has been ill informed and poorly applied.

Zac Martin

Senior planner, Ogilvy Melbourne

Sign in