Carmine Gallo, in his article, Forbes, quoted Richard Branson (Virgin Group Founder) of having said, ‘Communication Is The Most Important Skill Any Leader Can Possess.’
This article was inspired by a presentation that I made a few months ago to a group of teenagers, and some in their twenties who were going through a course to become Models. I was asked to tell them why communication skills are important, how their jobs would not end by just knowing about fashion and modeling.
How they would also be required to give interviews, appear on TV, answer some tough questions, criticism, they’d be asked about their opinions on social or political matters, asked to give speeches, and so on. To become the best, they’d have to become prolific communicators and polish their communication skills every day.
You could consider this article as being for those trying to become famous, or influencers, or leaders, or authorities in what they do. However, there are tips that would serve just about anyone interested in improving their communication skills, presentation skills, and public speaking skills. So, let’s get down to it.
26 Communication Skills for Leaders / Influencers/ Celebrities
1. Become versed in the issues of the World
When you read most communication skills articles on the Web, most neglect mentioning that your know-how, your interest in learning and understanding what’s happening about you is key in helping you become a better communicator, a more interesting person to listen and talk to.
Being versed in world issues is an ability to have an unlimited wealth of knowledge in as many fields as possible. This ability will thrust into any social situation without you feeling awkward or inadequate. It will help you get a stronger connection with intelligent industry influencers and business leaders who will find you valuable after a period of communication.
To become well versed in world issues, you should not be afraid to start a conversation with people who are smarter than you. Always be inquisitive enough and read on just about anything every day.
Nowadays we have tons of information available on the Web, libraries, and also those who are known as experts in several fields who share their knowledge in the form of books, videos, audiobooks, etc. Take advantage of that!
Why should you care? Well, because by the time you are seen as an influencer, as a leader, or who knows a celebrity, people will appreciate you more if you know how to navigate your way through a worldly conversation.
2. Become an Expert in at Least One Thing
While, as the saying goes, “Jack of all trades, master of none,” seems to be gaining wide adoption by many people, it might not always be the best approach if you intend to become an influencer and make a mark in any industry.
It would be best if you tried being a master of one trade while having general knowledge in a few others. Being an expert in one field will equip you with the skills to confidently dominate your field, and be recognized as an authority on the subject.
Related Article: 16 Remarkable Tips on How to Become a Thought Leader?
How many celebrities, models, and other famous figures are seen as not educated enough, or not able to contribute more on academic, scientific, or general public concerns debates? Know this; you can become an expert in any chosen field only if we are willing and dedicated enough to harness the power of deep work.
Deep work is becoming the most valuable skill of the 21st century. This is a process of undistracted focus on a chosen subject over some time, putting away all other things for that particular time-space. It can be for as short as 2 hours daily, but the main draw from this is the undistracted focus, concentration, and consistency. The chain should not be broken until you achieve your aim.
3. Be Authentic & Natural
A golden rule of improving your communication skills, as a leader or an influencer, is being genuine. Being authentic in your chosen field is key to building a foundation for your success. When you are genuine and natural, people want to associate more with you or your product and services
One way to authentic and natural in your presentations is to first believe in yourself. You should carry yourself in such a manner that you are able to convince people on the subject.
An audience can immediately tell when you lack confidence, and then the authenticity of your entire presentation is now questionable. When you believe in your self-worth, appearing authentic and natural won’t come very easy.
4. Practice Active Listening
Active Listening is one skill that should be constantly brought up when discussing communication. Because while being able to talk and give speeches are all great skills, active listening is also an excellent (harder to master) communication skill set.
Being able to listen instead of talking, lets you understand people and learn from new ideas and situations to add to what you already know.
Whenever you are in a gathering with people, having a conversation, always give people the chance to air the views concerning the subject. Try not to interrupt them even when you might disagree with their opinions.
Jot down the area of disagreement, so you don’t forget, then when they are done talking, you can subtly bring it up as a counter-argument, without discrediting the individual. By doing this, you not only show maturity and politeness, but you also make other people feel important, and their views respected. It will also set you aside as a leader.
5. Paraphrase and Ask Questions
Paraphrasing is a skill common to many great leaders who use it a lot in their addresses.
There are two ways you can paraphrase, either during a conversation, you repeat what the other person said to confirm the idea, and this also shows that you are actively listening, and the other way is by repeating phrases or quotes from other people to drive home a point. This creates a particular aura of greatness when you mediate your statements through the words of another great person, especially as a leader, making an address to your employees.
Learning to paraphrase people’s quotes and statements is an excellent way to pull people along and make them know you are welcoming to other people’s ideas. Also, asking questions to make people feel relaxed around you. They can contribute to your presentations and share their thoughts. This way, everyone has carried along and learned from one another.
6. Know your Audience & the Environment
Before ever making any kind of presentation, it is always an added bonus to have a feel of the venue where you will be presenting. Doing this will prep you up psychologically for the eventual day.
Also knowing your audience will help you structure your presentation to a particular class of people. You will be able to arrange your point strategically to convey the message you are trying to communicate more concisely.
By studying your audience you will also be able to connect with them in a much deeper level, by understanding cultural nuances, the level of education, proper mannerisms, the language, and thus you will be equipped to dazzle them.
Curious on how to conduct an audience analysis and make informed decisions on how to structure your speech? Check out this article where we shared 10 tips to help you with that.
7. Deal with Performance Anxiety
Anxiety attacks are common, especially to people who are making a public presentation for the first time. It is also popularly called stage fright, and it affects many people. Being able to deal with your performance anxiety is very crucial to the success of your public presentation.
You can learn to power through your anxiety by appearing as though nothing is happening. Avoid judging your performance as you deliver as this may further send you more into a fix, especially when you think you are failing.
Most of the time, speakers are seen to ease up after a while of presenting, which deals with the tension eventually. Here’s a detailed article on public speaking performance anxiety and the many reasons why we get ‘brain freezes,’ ways to deal with it, and appear confident during a presentation. Please visit this link.
8. Be Clear and Concise
Being clear about a topic is very important in every presentation. People connect with you by how you say what you say and not always what you say. This means that people are more interested in your points than in the overall subject at hand.
Try your best to be very clear and concise about the subject in question. It goes back to knowing your audience. When you understand your audience and what you intend talking about, being able to structure your points with precision won’t be difficult.
Proper delivery is also crucial. It would help if you keep your explanations as brief, clear, and straight to the point. Moreover, always remember, no one knows what is in your mind; no one knows or cares about how good or sound your thoughts are concerning a subject until it is properly communicated to them.
9. Manage Your Tone
Tone management is one area that deserves to be addressed more and more in the field of communication. Tone management is the ability to control the tempo of your voice as you make a presentation.
People expect and respect their leaders when they can convey a message with energy behind their voice when rallying the troops, and with softness when giving bad news. You should strive to make your voice audible, not too low, nor to loud.
Using a high pitched voice can come off as being aggressive or make you seem as though you are preaching.
It could also make your speech appear too rehearsed, which strips off the authenticity from it.
Always maintain a moderate tone and calm disposition when relaying information to your audience.
10. Harness the Power of Pause
People are sometimes concerned about ways in which they can add some spice to their public presentations. One way to do this is by pausing halfway through your presentation.
You should not be afraid to harness the power of pausing halfway through your speech. A brief silence adds a little suspense to your presentation. A short period of quietness will hold the attention of your audience and keep them at the edge of their seats, anticipating what you will say next.
A note of warning though: you should know when and how to do this.
One way you can do this after you ask a thought-provoking rhetorical question or when you are about to touch on a new heading. After introducing the title, you can pause for a while to build suspense and anticipation from your audience.
11. Work on your Diction
One great skill that a lot of public speakers have is knowing how to structure their tenses properly and having a rich vocabulary of words.
Learning to work on your diction makes you communicate better. It gives class to your statements and speeches when they are well enriched with the right tenses and an endless stream of great vocabulary.
People become confident in your abilities, and this automatically makes you a professional in your field and sets you apart from your contemporaries.
12. Writing Skills
Writing is fast becoming a more valued asset in the information age, especially with the rise of blogs and websites on the internet.
Nowadays, it is trendy to own a personal blog or website. Therefore learning how to write is also an added advantage to your personal brand and being an influencer.
Owning a blog and knowing how to write comes in handy when you make public appearances as a business person or an influencer. After making your presentations, you should not shy away from dropping your web address so people can log on to read on your presentations which you might have written on more comprehensively.
13. Enrich your vocabulary
Your vocabulary has a lot to do with how your audience will perceive you at the end of your presentations. A rich and resounding vocabulary gives you an authority in your field and commands respect from people. You will be perceived as being intelligent and well-grounded in the issues being discussed.
You can enrich your vocabulary by having a note where you write words or phrases you come across daily. Then in your spare time, you can look up the meaning of these words in the dictionary. This type of learning helps you ingrain information much easier and expands your vocabulary over time. Then apply them at every chance you get when making speeches.
14. Reduce or Eliminate Slang
Slangs are known to ease up tension and add flavor to any given presentation. While incorporating slang and humor into your presentations is (can be) a good thing, you should try making it as brief and spontaneous as possible.
It (could) add wittiness to your presentation and makes everyone in the room relaxed. However, a word of note is that this should not be done at almost every interjection. Learning to keep slangs and humor to a bare minimum maintains the seriousness and credibility of your speech.
If for the most part of your presentations in public, you are using slangs, non-stop, and there is no real message behind the speech, then your credibility will be in question.
15. Practice & Build Confidence
Many people have challenges with building confidence for their speech, which oftentimes make them shy away from making the presentation entirely. However, this does not have to be so, as they can learn to build their confidence.
One great way to make a fiery speech is thorough practice. You can do this while alone within the confines of your bedroom. It is found that standing in front of a mirror while rehearsing helps build your confidence by half. Steady practice will count on the D-day because you would mastered every bit of the presentation that you actual delivery becomes a walkover.
Please take some time and read this article on 6 great tips to help you build confidence while speaking in front of others. It should give you some pointers.
16. Get used to Making Eye Contact
Eye contact shows confidence and that the audience matters to you. On the other hand, avoiding or breaking eye contact might indicate that you are uncomfortable, shy, or lack confidence. So one way to develop proper communication skills is by getting used to making eye contact with your audience.
Making eye contact shows authority and commands respect from your audience. It also indicates seriousness on your part, that you know what you are talking about and genuinely want to share your knowledge and experiences with your audience.
If you are afraid or not skilled yet on how to effectively connect with an audience through eye contact, please spend some time reading these awesome tips on how to master eye contact for your presentations.
17. Handshake And Gestures
Handshakes and gestures are communication skills that everyone aspiring to become an influencer, entrepreneur, thought leader, or simply to be a good business leader or professional should learn.
A firm handshake with a slight pat on the shoulder of the person you are shaking shows a healthy dose of confidence while displaying friendship and goodwill.
Also never refrain from using gestures when making your point. Good use of gestures does not only lets you communicate better; they also make you appear intelligent and confident. They equally give you a certain level of class.
There are hiring managers who reject executive-level candidates solely because of how they carried themselves, or because when it came to shaking hands, the candidate had their hand at the bottom and was looking into the hand of the hiring manager instead of looking them in the eye (which would show more confidence).
Related Article: How to use Body Language and Gestures for Better Presentations?
18. Pay attention to your Body Language
Body language can be understood as those subtle nonverbal signals we usually give off or display when we communicate with one another. It is often said that body language accounts for about 50 to 70 percent of all manner of communication. So you can see why excellent use of body language is essential to our communication skill.
The success or failure of our presentations sometimes depends on our body language. Success can only come when we learn to manage and put our body language to great use, or we will be preparing for failure when we fail to control our body language and letting it get the better of us.
19. Be Assertive in all you do
Assertiveness is a great asset that sets people apart from each other. Being assertive is the ability to impose a politely forceful personality and having a strong opinion on a subject without appearing or being aggressive.
It would help if you learned to be assertive and articulate in whatever you do. Whether making a presentation or writing a piece, being assertive assures people that you know what you are talking about.
When you are assertive, people are compelled to put their trust in and connect with you. You will be perceived as being more intelligent, and it also shows just how sophisticated you are. Lastly, assertiveness promotes an aura of positivity.
20. Be bold and learn to Lead others
Boldness is a great communication skill to learn if you hope to dominate your field and become an industry leader. This skill set leaders apart from followers.
You learn to be bold and lead others well when you give great insights and can work a crowd.
Once you are able to own the room by the way you communicate, you get increasingly confident, which is a great tool for effective leadership.
21. Dress to Impress Yourself, while Respecting others
You might have heard the sayings, “dress the part,” or “you are addressed as you are dressed.”
These are self-explanatory statements that don’t need to be elaborated upon. When you dress for the occasion, you are not just doing yourself a great service, but you are also respecting others.
A good dress sense builds a good reputation and respect from people as you win them over even before they really get to know you. Also picking out the right kind of dress should depend entirely on the audience type you wish to address and also the time in the season. So you should learn to work with these factors.
If you are wondering, then ‘Yes, the way you dress also sends signals and communicates something,’ make sure you are not pushing potential customers, followers, or partners away by giving them the wrong or mixed messages. Dress for the occasion, while respecting other people’s cultures.
22. Learn to deal with Impressions and criticism
One way to grow as a professional in any field is learning how to accept criticism. Criticisms are part of the growth process and help you know and understand your areas of deficiency.
When you open up to the impressions and opinions of others, you not only learn new ideas to add to or modify what you already know, you become a great team player as you become more open to working with people.
Now, it is not easy to accommodate all forms of criticism, because there are people who are mean and have no constructive criticism to give. Be better than them, don’t give in to their provocations.
What I would recommend is using the Sandwich Feedback Technique, which consists of giving praise, then corrective feedback, and praising once more. This showcases maturity avoids hurting other people’s feelings, and people will respect you more because of that.
23. Social Media & other Media Management
Social media management has become a modern tool that no one can afford to look over in the 21st century. When we talk about the field of influencer marketing as a new tool for big businesses, social media is what often comes to mind.
Brands are willing to pay thousands of dollars to influencers and industry naysayers in a particular niche to effectively market their products or services. You can see that the many upsides of social media management can never go overstated.
Try to be on as many social media platforms as possible. Be consistent and up to date with happening around your chosen niche. We live in a world where information is available in real-time, so we can never overstress why being current is vital to your success.
Bonus Tip: Avoid posting things that may give the wrong message on your social media. Some recruiters and business people always go through your profiles to check what you look like outside of that business environment or interview, your companies, habits, ideologies, etc., And that may have a huge impact on whether they decide to hire/do business with you or not.
24. Become versed in communicating using technology (podcasts, video cameras, etc.)
Knowing how to make use of modern web technologies would be instrumental in building your brand. Nowadays, people incorporate podcasts into their media businesses. Podcasts are a great way to promote content.
With just a camera, you can be at the comfort of your room while making broadcasts to the world by a few clicks. YouTube comes to mind in that regard.
Learning to harness the zero marginal utility tool of podcasting is very beneficial to your interests.
25. Be true to Yourself
Honesty, they say, is the best virtue. Being true to yourself and others is a great way to communicate with people.
When you are real about things, being authentic and well perceived becomes very easy. Fake people have a hard time communicating as they are continuously hounded by their better self. So the watchword here is being true to yourself in whatever you do. People will see it too and want to identify with you.
“Fake it until you make it.” I am not a big fan of that phrase. I’d rather tell you that I am not ready to do something, or that I am comfortable in doing something than pretending to be having the time of my life while doing something I hate.
26. Never Give up on Your Dreams
“Never give up on your dreams” has become a cliché phrase popularly used in motivational speeches. However, the quote has remained true over time.
People are always under pressure, especially when they don’t meet up their set goals and aspirations. As such, they become tempted to giving it up altogether.
One way to overcome this is by possessing a mindset of self-belief that lets you persist and not give up even in the face of adversity. This will also teach you that failing is part of the process and to learn to embrace it.
As the Great Les Brown said, “You have GREATNESS in You.” Believe in yourself even when no one else does, and keep pushing forward towards what your mindset to do. You can do it!
COMMUNICATION SKILLS BONUS TIP
27. Learn to care for others and Express it Genuinely
When you learn to care for others genuinely, you, in turn, are caring for yourself. Being able to give is a great feeling that can not be bought on monetary terms.
Goodwill is a great gift that many are not even afforded the opportunity to be able to exhibit even when they desire it. So learn to practice it at every opportunity.
You become a better person when you are able to love and care for people who are not able to do for themselves.
There are so many people trying to start their own business, become entrepreneurs, models, celebrities, influencers, leaders, and what all of them have in common is the need to master communication skills and use it to become the best in what they do, to become thought leaders and well-respected authorities in their field.
In this article we shared 26+ communication skills tips, giving you an idea of how and when you should be using them, and why they are important for you as a professional in your field/entrepreneur. Some of the tips are a bit unconventional; we are not addressing body language, active listening, tone, and diction only, we go as far as discussing dressing, authenticity, and confidence.
REFERENCES & FURTHER READING ON COMMUNICATION SKILLS
Please find some references below, you can learn more about how to improve your communications skills as a leader and influencer, and hopefully reach out to many more people in the best way.
Steve Olenski. Five Communication Skills that make Good leaders Great. https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2016/03/29/five-communication-skills-that-make-good-leaders-great/#561c6d37ae9b . Accessed on 07/26/2019.
Carmine Gallo. Communication is the most important skill any leader can possess. https://www.forbes.com/sites/carminegallo/2015/07/07/richard-branson-communication-is-the-most-important-skill-any-leader-can-possess/#76f7df302e8a . Accessed on 07/26/2019.
Marcel Schwantes. 10 Communication habits of the most successful people. https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/10-effective-communication-habits-of-the-most-successful-people.html. Accessed on 07/26/2019.
Corporate Group Coach. Communication skills for managers and leaders. https://corporatecoachgroup.com/blog/communication-skills-for-managers-and-leaders . Accessed on 07/26/2019.