Picture this: Each person on your team is as excited as you are. They are energized at the thought of contributing to making the team's and company's dreams come true. Is this a ridiculous ideal or something within your reach?

Think back to the communicating you have done with your team over the last month. Did you inspire them and create excitement and energy? Or did other priorities take over?

When time is short, it is easy to resort to email and forget the importance of ongoing communication that inspires. Perhaps you assume your employees know what your company is aiming for. But companies grow and strategies change, making it imperative to continuously share your thoughts and your plans with your team--and what you need from them.

Inspiring leaders engage their teams through creative communication. Here are 17 ways to do just that:

1. Tell a Story

"I will always remember..." or "I wish you could have seen..." These phrases are memorable and capture imagination and excitement. Try it in your next meeting or talk.

2. Capture a Raw Video

Try something different: use your phone and record a simple video message, sharing what is currently important to you or providing a fast update after a customer visit or board meeting.

3. Share Why YOU Are Really Excited

Is it your products, your future plan for expansion, or the latest customer feedback? Excitement is addictive.--share it with your team today.

4. Remember One Thing

Don't overload your messages. Before you send any communication, think about what is the one point you want everyone to remember and make sure you make that clearly.

5. Cut the Small Talk

Jump right into the message, especially when speaking in meetings or in front of groups. Don't ramble about microphones, the weather, or what day of the week it is.

6. Share a Picture

Variety catches attention. Try a picture to capture and communicate an idea you had.

7. Forget PowerPoint

It is hard to inspire via bulleted text. Don't do it unless it contains just a few pictures. Speak naturally to capture attention.

8. Avoid Lengthy Emails

Get your people out of their inbox. Experiment with emails that are short and to the point.

9. Watch Your Tone

Have you heard yourself lately? Are you energized and inspired yourself? Either way, it is contagious.

10. Share a Song

I once had a boss who started every meeting with a quote from a song. A little silly perhaps, but it was memorable, and it got everyone talking about his message.

11. Remember News Clippings?

If you see a powerful article in a magazine or the Wall Street Journal, don't forget to share it old-school style. Different stands out.

12. Be Okay with Messy

Don't spent hours perfecting your talk, your email, or your meeting. Teach your team that messy can be great, and perfection isn't often worth the investment of time.

13. Talk about 5 Years into the Future

If your team does not know the destination, how can they enjoy the journey?

14. Surprise Them: Do the Opposite of What They Expect

Do you always hold large all-employee meetings? Try small group breakfasts. Experiment with different ways of inspiring your team and find out what works best for you and them.

15. Make It Personal

Do your team and company know who you are? What stories can you share about your early career, your personal passions, and how you became the leader you are? The more authentic you are, the greater connection you create.

16. Listen to Yourself

When did you last play back a recording or video of yourself? It is a powerful way to hear if your intent matches with reality. Have the courage to assess your speaking impact and strengthen it. Get help from a coach if you cringe as you listen.

17. Do You Understand and Believe?

To be inspired you have to both understand and believe in the company direction. Before you inspire your team, you have to make sure you understand and believe yourself.

Inspiring leaders experiment with new approaches, ask for feedback about their communication, and develop new skills as they grow in their career and take on new opportunities that put them in front of larger crowds or more challenging audiences.

What else has worked for you? (Leave a comment.)

 

 

Published on: Mar 31, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.