As a leader, the content and delivery of your message are important. This cannot be overstated. What should a leader be thinking about when it comes to communication?
Check your emotion and your language first. If the success of your message is contingent upon your team buying into your emotion, then you have a bad message. If you need to throw around an abundance of expletives to get your point across, you have a bad message. If you must supplement your message with something other than the message itself for people to buy in, then you need to re-think your communication.
I loved recruiting and handling sources as an FBI Special Agent. I recruited sources from countries around the world, from the Untied States to Central Asia. The way I grew up, the way I spoke, and generally handled myself was drastically different from the sources I recruited. I preferred recruiting sources who volunteered assistance rather than “cooperation” provided pursuant to an arrest and a plea for leniency. In either instance, the content and delivery of my message was paramount to achieving operational success, many times with the direst consequences on the line.
Clear and concise goals, actions, and contingencies were essential to creating trust with the sources I operated. When I was able to clearly articulate what our goals were, how we were going to accomplish them, and what we would do if something went wrong, my sources always bought in. The clarity in the message itself brought a degree of inspiration.
So often we try to talk like the people we are speaking with to gain their acceptance. Don’t do this. Be yourself and be clear and concise about what you want to accomplish and how you want to accomplish it. Likewise, trying to appeal to emotions is a waste of time because emotions are generally fleeting. “Do it for God and country” will only get you so far. Eventually, people will want to know why and how we are going to risk ourselves for God and country.
Ensure you have a clear and concise message for your team if you are looking for buy in. If you can provide some real inspiration in your language, all the better. But always start with the content of the message first. An example of inspiration and clarity? “I have a dream”, and “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall”. The messages are clear and concise first and foremost. The inspiration makes them timeless.
Errol Doebler is the founder of Ice Cold Leader, a leadership consulting firm. After successful careers as a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and FBI Special Agent, Errol founded Ice Cold Leader to realize his passion of empowering great leaders and better human beings. Errol provides executive coaching, keynote speaking, and corporate retreats to individuals and teams across the world.
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