Thursday, August 11 2022

Dear Lloyd,

As a leader, I find it difficult to lead my people and make them understand what I am teaching them. Often he gets the best of me. Your ideas are greatly appreciated.

Leo

Leo,

It is absolutely imperative that leaders maintain their composure first and, second, that their communication be correct. If people do not understand you, it is not an automatic fault of the listener. You, the sender of the message, must have played a crucial role.

For over 15 years as a professional speaker, I have come to different places, speaking to diverse audiences – from business owners to grassroots employees. Over the years, I have learned a lot about the importance of communication for progress. Failure in business does not often happen because of bad luck. Often times, ineffective communication – or worse, a lack of communication – is the reason.

Public speaking in the Philippines and elsewhere plays a vital role in rallying your people to achieve your leadership agenda. If you haven’t noticed it yet, the major events that shaped the history of the world had someone – a leader – speak in front of a crowd and the crowd listened. When they got the message right, they were successful in their cause. But first it was the speaker – the leader – who got the message across to the people.

But having a message and delivering it is only part of the process. I’ve seen a lot of leaders today who speak ugly and irresponsibly, but just open their mouths and think people like an off-track strategy. This is totally wrong and in my role as founder of the Public Speaking Institute, it is easily unacceptable.

As a Filipino speaker, my philosophy has always been: “Public speaking is not a show of intelligence but a show of genuine connection. “

A great leader does not assert his intelligence when speaking in public. It does so behind closed doors in a boardroom where its top executives discuss their idea. Once a leader stands behind the podium, they speak in language and terms that ordinary people understand. Great leaders, from a public speaking perspective, must have a genuine connection with their audience or they will make more enemies than they will make friends.

As an audience myself, I can easily find speakers who pretend – just reading their prepared speech hoping they can fool their audience. This happens several times on different occasions. But that’s not a sustainable way to get a great job. Public communication in some form or word is done with authenticity or you don’t do it at all.

Simply put, your audience is smart enough to sense whether you’re right or wrong.

Not every leadership role is without a leader taking part in the communication process. In other words, how you get your message across is as important as your message itself. When you have a good message and delivered it ineffectively, it’s as good as giving the wrong message. You don’t want your good post to be wasted because it’s not just the post you would have wasted. This goes hand in hand with the time you spent preparing, reading, or delivering it, as well as the effort of the audience listening to you, as well as their time and attention to do so.

When we are not understood by our people, do not automatically blame them. More than anything, your role is to get a message across and make people understand it. The burden is primarily on you. Besides, you know full well that as a leader, you lead. Thus, lead them to a conversation that is worth everyone’s time.

Establishing an authentic connection with people is a skill that can be learned. If you want to cut down on the best of me scenes in your life as a leader, you have to learn to communicate with authentic messages while making a real connection with the people who are listening to you.

PS The Public Speaking Institute operates a monthly certification program called Certified Public Speaker (CPS). If you would like to improve your communication skills, please visit www.public Speaking.ph. We will be happy to help you.

Sgt. Lloyd A. Luna, PAFR, is the first registered speech professional in the Philippines. He is a motivational speaker on leadership and best-selling author of Stepback: The Lost Art of Filipino Leadership. He is President and CEO of Stepback, a leadership and cultural development company that helps leaders and organizations see the big picture in life and at work. Visit his website www.stepback.ph or send him an e-mail at [email protected].


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