Communication Skills and Leadership

What is common between Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela? One, they all were great leaders and second, they all had amazing ability to communicate. Their leadership was not just conditional to their ability to speak but also to understand and listen to what others had to say.

It simply means that communication skills are an essential element of leadership and one cannot become an effective leader without possessing the virtue of communication. The ability to make a connection is central to a leader’s success and that can only be achieved with the help of proper communication skills.

It is believed that communication is the most important leadership skill. If we look closely at it, we find most of the leaders spend maximum time of their lives communicating with clients, people, staff, investors, the media and other ones. Even in the corporate world, people like Jack Welch, Steve Jobs, Bill Clinton and Sunil Mittal etc are believed to possess great communication skills.

Great communicators are made and not born. It will be a fallacy to assume that leaders are born with ability to communicate. For instance, Mahatma Gandhi was a very shy child but when the time called upon him, he proved himself to be a master communicator.

So what are the common communication traits possessed by the leaders? Some of the important ones are; ability to connect with their audience, having leadership charisma, mastering the art of using non-verbal communication and of course, good public speaking skills.

All the great leaders essentially have these skills that earn them millions of followers. Its not that leaders start their public speaking journey with bang but it is simply the ability to rise to the occasion as and when the moment arrives. Great leaders work on their shortcomings and try their best to master verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

True leaders are always able to connect with the masses. The term connection here signifies providing the other person a feeling of his own self-importance. A leader who is able to connect with people on an emotional level while communicating is bound to have the greatest impact on his audiences. Among the other aspects of communication skills possessed by great leaders, effective use of body language, listening skills, openness, smiles and eye contact etc are the major ones.

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