1. They know their audience.
Great communicators don’t worry about sounding important, showing off their expertise or boosting their own egos. Instead, they think about what people need to hear and how they can deliver this message so that they hear it. This doesn’t mean that leaders tell people what they want to hear. Quite the opposite—they tell people what’s important for them to know, even if it’s bad news.
2. They are experts in body language.
Great communicators are constantly tracking people’s reactions to their message. They are quick to pick up on cues like facial expressions and body language because they know this is the only feedback many people will give them. Great communicators use this expertise to tailor their message on the fly and adjust their communication style as needed.
3. They are honest.
The best leaders know that for communication to be effective, it has to be real. They can’t have people parsing every word trying to separate fact from spin. When great communicators can’t share certain information, they come right out and say it because makeshift, half-truth answers breed distrust and anxiety. In good times and bad, honesty builds trust.
4. They are authentic.
Great communicators don’t try to be someone they’re not just because they’ve stepped behind a podium. Great leaders know that when they stay true to who they are, people gravitate to their message. They also know the opposite happens when leaders put on an act.
5. They speak with authority.
Great communicators don’t try to cover their backs by being ambiguous, wishy-washy or unassertive. Instead, they stick their necks out and speak very directly about how things are and how they need to be.