Now that you’ve secured the corner office, you may find that you have to lead meetings or discussions with groups of your employees. When you do, it’s important that you give off the vibe of a competent leader with every word that you say. Follow these tips to speak like a leader:
Don’t go overboard.
Leaders who sprinkle too many superlatives into their conversations will come across as phony and untrustworthy. Nothing is always amazing, incredible, marvelous, and wonderful all the time, so don’t pretend that it is. As a leader, honesty and authenticity is important. Don’t use these fluff words that will make your employees think that you’re hiding something from them.
Be an adult.
When you think of teenagers, how do you imagine them talking? You most likely thought of words such as “so,” “you know?” and “um.” If you want to sound like a leader, avoid using these words excessively. Don’t end your sentences with “you know?” or “right?” which shows the audience that you’re unsure of what you’re saying. Instead, be authoritative and confident in what you’re saying. When you use too many of these words, not only will your audience view you as juvenile, but they may also get so distracted with your word choice that they lose focus on what you’re saying.
Avoid the buts.
Leaders often get in the habit of delivering good news and then following it with a “but” or “however” to convey bad news. To capture and engage your audience, avoid this tactic. Employees don’t want to feel like everything that you say has an upside and downside. It makes you come across as a negative person, and creates a sour, pessimistic tone in the office. Employees may feel like you are a “glass half-empty” kind of leader, always looking for problems instead of celebrating successes. Instead of using the “but” approach, try to speak of the good in the beginning of your speech, and then focus on ways to improve. You could even refer to these improvements as ways to continue building upon your current success. When you phrase it in this way, employees are more likely to respond positively.
Don’t use industry jargon.
Often, leaders have to speak to a diverse group of people that represent different departments in the company. It’s impossible to know whether every employee that you have uses the same jargon that you do, so avoid using it altogether when you speak to the entire company. This includes using acronyms that are specific to your business or industry. Even if you’re comfortable with these acronyms, they could be specific to your team, so don’t expect everyone else to immediately know what you’re talking about. As a leader, you never want to make anyone feel left out or incompetent, so speak in a simplistic manner that everyone will be sure to understand, from the wholesale distributors to the accounting department.
The best leaders understand that communication is not a one-way street. If you want the respect and admiration of the people that you lead, then it’s important to listen. Say what you have to say, and then ask for feedback from the employees on your team. As they speak, take notes so that they know you’re listening and ask for clarification when you’re not sure of what point they’re trying to make. Remember, sometimes speaking like a leader means not speaking at all, but letting others speak instead!