Communication remains one of the most important skills for a good leader and an absolutely essential factor in building fruitful relationships with employees, customers and vendors alike. Excellent leadership relies on effective communication strategies to clearly convey the company's message and inspire and rally people behind common goals -- all in view of building a strong brand with a united workforce.
So how exactly do leaders become good communicators? These seven entrepreneurs share some of the best communication secrets of great leaders so that any business owner can apply the same techniques to achieve success.
"Don't leave space for any miscommunication or misinterpretation," OneIMS co-founder and president Solomon Thimothy underlines, explaining that clarity in conveying your message is arguably one of the most important secrets of great communication.
According to Thimothy, the success of every project depends on how well you plan its execution, and setting clear goals, deliverables and performance expectations is a part of this process. "If you take time to double-check that your team understood the task right, you save yourself a lot of time in the future."
Another key component of excellent communication is the leader's confidence when speaking -- either one-on-one or to a large audience. Leila Lewis, founder and CEO of Be Inspired PR, explains that a leader who exudes confidence, not arrogance, can successfully capture and motivate their audience.
"My team was up against a tight deadline to finish a major project for a client," Lewis recalls. "When meeting about it, it was important that I conveyed not just confidence in myself to do my part, but also my confidence in each of their individual abilities to get it done."
Tolerance for uncomfortable conversations
"The No. 1 trait that all great leaders need to have is the ability to have uncomfortable conversations," Accounting Institute of Success CEO Bryce Welker believes, underlining that this particular communication secret can be very useful for advancing a business.
"It's because of my ability to tolerate uncomfortable conversations that I was able to aggressively negotiate with my clients and receive lucrative deals for my business," Welker explains. "My advice is to build up your self-confidence so that you can face similarly stressful situations."
Being transparent and communicating openly and honestly is essential for any good leader, as this allows employees to understand the bigger picture and how their individual efforts contribute to the company's goals and objectives, thinks Stephen Beach, CEO of Craft Impact Marketing.
"Without transparency, false narratives and a feeling of distrust can grow," Beach adds, warning about how damaging this kind of distrust can be for an organization. To maintain transparency and trust, Beach says that his company holds quarterly meetings to discuss its goals and what everyone is working toward, which helps get the team aligned.
Good communication is not only about how you convey the message or what words you use, but also about when you do it, says MKG Marketing COO Kerry Guard. Especially when it's a tough conversation, a good leader knows to time it so that it's neither too late nor too early, and makes sure both parties are ready to engage.
"Don't wait too long because things can fester. But, don't spring it on them because they will get defensive," Guard advises. "Put a meeting on the books -- this gives you a deadline and them a heads-up. Write a list of what you'll discuss and stay calm."
"If you want to be a great communicator, listen," insists LFNT Distribution co-founder Colbey Pfund, explaining that everyone whom he has ever looked up to, including his mentor, was a great listener.
"I was always struck by my mentor who could recall details of past conversations with me without any reminders," Pfund remembers. "It is such a simple, obvious thing and most people don't do it."
Using the right tone
Communication also relies heavily on tone and body language and using the right tone can go a long way toward delivering your message as intended and not leaving room for interpretation, says SeedProd LLC founder John Turner.
"Your tone says a lot about your personality and can make you a better communicator. I'm mindful of my tone before speaking during company meetings because I want to set a positive environment for my employees with a strong, confident leader," Turner adds.