Communication 101

Effective Communication Skills for Leadership

September 7, 2022
5 min read

The best business leaders have strong communication skills. No matter the industry, great communicators know how to present their ideas and messages to their team members, listen to others with an open mind, and ultimately build trust with their colleagues. 

Growing in your leadership abilities means prioritizing good communication. And that means sharpening both your speaking and listening skills. Poised wants to help you get started with these effective communication skills for leaders. 

What Are the Most Important Communication Skills for Leaders?

Poor communication can cause countless issues for your business. It can lead to missed benchmarks, low team morale, and lost sales, to name a few. 

Implementing effective communication skills will significantly impact your organization’s bottom line. And as a leader, it will help you build trust, inspire team members to work toward a shared vision, and navigate various challenges.

To break it down: Great leaders inspire intelligent changes and empower others to collaborate on common objectives. And communication is your greatest asset for accomplishing that.

If you’re ready to excel at workplace communication, start by developing these effective communication skills. 

Active Listening

There is a time to talk and a time to listen. The key to effective professional development and emotional intelligence is discerning when to do each. 

Active listening is essential. It can transform your experiences at work and in your personal life.

Frequently ask employees for feedback, opinions, and ideas. Actively engage in the conversation when they share by taking notes, maintaining eye contact, asking open-ended questions, and requesting for them to elaborate. 

As you listen to your team members, give them your full attention and don’t interrupt. You may need to turn your phone on silent and eliminate other distractions. The whole point of active listening is understanding and retaining your team members’ messages and ideas. A good listener will make the other person feel heard with nonverbal signals and similar soft skills.

Maintaining Eye Contact

Keeping eye contact with another person shows you’re engaged in the meeting or presentation. When other people are talking, stay focused on the person and their message. When you’re the one speaking, maintain eye contact with your audience. Try to connect with every person in the room, holding eye contact for a few seconds at a time.

Persuasive Body Language and Hand Gestures

There’s more to communication than the words you say and the tone of your voice. The way you carry yourself plays a vital role in communicating and leading effectively. 

Most experts agree that nonverbal cues are responsible for the majority of communication’s impact. Consider your body language and hand gestures when speaking and listening to others. 

Sincere Facial Expressions

We all know a fake smile when we see one — and, in some ways, they’re worse than a stone-cold stare! Flashing a genuine smile at your audience (or at the speaker) can go a long way in conveying warmth and establishing trust. 

This applies to the other side of the emotional spectrum too. If you’re telling a heart-wrenching story, make sure your facial expressions match how you feel.

It can be hard to pay close attention to what we look like in the moment, which is why some business leaders rely on instant feedback from AI on their nonverbal communication skills. For example, software like Poised can discreetly alert you to how to appear on camera, including perceived empathy and confidence levels.

Using the Right Tone of Voice

The tone of voice you use when speaking also affects how listeners receive your message. Similar to facial expressions, your tone of voice can help your audience understand the content of your message on a deeper level. But the wrong tone can distract or confuse your audience. 

Most often, you will want to use an assuring, positive tone that boosts team morale. Sure, there may be times when it’s necessary to speak sternly, but try to control your emotions and avoid speaking with anger.

If you ever become frustrated with a specific employee or with the team as a whole, take a moment to reflect on the importance of collaboration. Make sure your team members know you respect them and encourage risk-taking, even if it results in mistakes. 

Knowing How To Give and Receive Feedback

Feedback is not only a critical form of communication for customer relationship management but also for fostering effective teamwork. Regularly ask your team members for feedback, listen to their point of view, and act on the feedback. You might be surprised by how quickly it helps you grow as a leader. Plus, it will build trust among your team. 

Receiving feedback from your colleagues and neglecting to make positive changes can be worse than never asking for feedback in the first place. It will eventually lead your team members to question your ability or willingness to follow through. 

That said, be transparent about any suggested changes you can’t immediately make, and ensure your team that you are serious about finding practical solutions for improvement. Most of the time, it will be enough for your employees to feel they were heard. 

Equally Strong Face-To-Face and Written Communication

There’s no denying the impact of in-person meetings or public speaking events where you and your colleagues can connect face-to-face. Even video calls are preferable over phone calls and other non-visual forms of communication. 

That said, many business communication occurs via email, memos, and reports. To lead effectively, you must employ good writing skills to convey your message and minimize confusion or misinterpretations.

Knowing How To Use Social Media Effectively

Finally, don’t underestimate social media's impact on your team. Social media platforms are invaluable for building brand awareness, but they can also boost your company’s internal rapport and culture. 

Transform Your Leadership Style With Poised

Good communication skills are essential to leadership. Implementing the tips above will help you grow as a communicator and team leader. But don’t forget to use Poised for real-time feedback during video calls. The communication coach will even analyze long-term trends so you can transform your communication style over time!


How the World’s Top Business Leaders Communicate Most Effectively | Business Inquirer

Active Listening Definition, Skills, and Examples | The Balance

5 Ways Body Language Impacts Leadership Results | Forbes

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