We rounded off last week in Hong Kong with an inspirational talk from Patrick Eng of Connect Communication Ltd., hosted by the IABC and KPMG, on the topic of preparing leaders to communicate effectively. We hear time and again about the importance the leadership communications can have on employee engagement, so we were interested to be reminded and learn more from what Patrick had to say.
Here are our top five takeaways:
- Great communications are simply great conversations (like the ones you have over a cup of coffee – hence the background photo!). This is when we are at our most natural and authentic, and also when we are actively listening to our audience (or coffee partner). You have to know what your audience are thinking and feeling, to be able to communicate effectively with them.
- The personality with which you deliver your message, is more important than the message you are delivering. Without personality (allowing you to emotionally connect with people) your audience won’t hear the message. They’ll remember the impact someone with a great personality had. Storytelling and personalisation are helpful tools to bring personality out (an example is Sheryl Sandberg and how she has impact when she talks about Leaning In, in part because of how open she is about her personal story).
- There are many practical tips for effective communications but what resonated with us was the rule of three – our brains can best process three messages. So prioritise what you want your audience to remember.
- Did you know that some of the great leaders of our time from President Obama to Mark Zuckerberg use speech prompts. Don’t be afraid to have notes to enable strong communication – it can remove the stress some leaders feel having to memorise their speeches, and it provides a roadmap and a reminder of those important 3 key messages to keep coming back to.
- “People don’t buy things, people buy people” (Joe Girard). Be credible and consistent in what you say, and if it’s ever needed, don’t be afraid to admit your mistakes.
If you have another top tip to share on communicating effectively please comment below, we would love to hear your thoughts.