Great leaders are effective communicators. Think of MLK, Gandhi, Lincoln, and FDR. They were all leaders who understood the value of their words and how it would translate to action. Why did their messages hit so hard with the crowds that, at times, hung on to their every word?
I think it comes down to two very simple strategies that anyone can apply when talking to a group of people.
1. Believe, know and live your message. Have an understanding of what you’re saying to the point where people could understand your message without hearing you speak. Gandhi is one of the best examples. He preached non-violence and acted in accordance to his beliefs. Embodying your message gives you the unshakable confidence when communicating your message.
2. Know your audience. The great leaders always know their followers. They empathize, sympathize and understand where they are and where they come from. MLK understood that his followers needed the big picture and sought inspiration in his words. His sermon style speeches naturally gave his listeners hope and courage to work for a brighter future.
This is not an exhaustive list. I think that you’re half way to victory if you know your message well and the audience that will receive the message. At the end of the day, great leaders communicate well to inspire others or to call them to action. These two skills go hand in hand. Great leaders communicate well and effective communicators make for great leaders. I wonder which came first?