You walk into a room where design professionals meet for food and conversation after work. For fun you decide to work the room, and listen in on a few conversations. After the gathering ends, you list the striking aspects of the conversationalists you remember. The list may include the following characteristics:
- Personal style – LOVE the glasses!
- Enthusiastic presentation of story
- Knowledge base exceeds the ordinary
- Maintained focus of conversation
- Opened the group so that I could listen in
Which one of the above characteristics is imperative for a leader to possess?
When asked What is a characteristic of how a leader communicates? my colleagues offer different answers. The answers don’t conflict, but the difference reflects how leaders-in-training can aspire to leadership roles without subscribing to a one-dimensional leadership style.
Leaders understand the boomerang effect. How they present their information is as important as what they present. They are cognizant of the power of the words on the listeners. Leaders convey their ideas in a tone that starts neutral and morphs into welcoming.
Leaders are direct. They are confident in their viewpoints. They accept conflicting views as new information, but maintain the focus in a conversation. Also, when other people have similar views, leaders create the opportunities to support the consensus, as opposed to emphasizing competition.
Leaders are inspirational. When they talk about their expertise the way they say it inspires the listeners, and is moving. Leaders channel their creative energy into results. They must be good public speakers, and have the elevator speeches about the results memorized. People are not inspired by the ordinary. They are inspired by the active. The best way to inspire others is to illustrate how a single thought results in a long term solution.
Leaders are you. As providers of continuing education, presenters are tasked with teaching attendees something they don’t know. Within their presentations providers must assume the role of mentor to the attendees, and adjust their conversation style to be the most effective communicators. Not only can providers show the attendees how to use a skill or product, but they should inspire the attendees to articulate the benefits of this skill to the advancement of the profession. Is it possible for a provider of continuing education to assume the role of leader and leader-trainer?