Famous entrepreneurs are known for communicating on a regular basis to employees, vendors, investors and clients. They have learned it is a vital aspect of their businesses. Whether the news is positive or negative, they know it is best to be forthright, honest, and timely. They know people appreciate transparency and truth.
Thoughtful leaders communicate via various meetings, speeches, emails, tweets and phone calls. They write blogs, articles and deliver information via the media. Topics include financial information, corporate vision and strategy. They review values and culture. They note accomplishments and celebrate progress. They share their plans, goals, and priorities and discuss challenges and barriers. They also teach, encourage, inspire, and motivate. They express appreciation and gratitude. They reassure and calm. They make requests and pleas. They exude confidence, enthusiasm and integrity. They are articulate and never condescending. They are engaged in such activities hourly, daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly. They instruct and teach fellow leaders, in any position of responsibility, to do likewise.
As they do so, they are admired, trusted, loved, and followed. They are the epitome of servant leaders.
Consider the powerful example of President Abraham Lincoln as he delivered an historic two-minute speech in 1863 to the people of the nation at Gettysburg, Penn.
In the midst of the Civil War, he stood where many had died to consecrate their final resting places and to exhort all Americans to continue the fight for the survival of representative democracy, that the "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
He also reminded his audience of the espoused principles established by the Founding Fathers — human equality and the overarching need to preserve the Union.
In a few brief moments, with dignity and wisdom, he spoke clearly to the nation about its dark condition and its bright future. He invited all to stand together in the great cause of humanity. Fortunately, we are the beneficiaries of an inspired leader who knew how to communicate to his people.
When I think of other outstanding leaders with this great skill, UCLA coach John Wooden comes to mind.
Over an amazing career, he not only taught his team how to win multiple national basketball championships but how to be great men as well. Soft spoken and humble, this great teacher led by example and precept. For everyone who leads people, his books on leadership are superior guides.
Not all leaders are born and speak with the golden tongue of Winston Churchill. Some of us stutter and fear to speak. We lack the skills and natural gifts of the great communicator Ronald Reagan.
For those of us who need to develop our communication skills, there are wonderful resources at our disposal. There are classes to attend, books to read and professional coaches to increase our capabilities.
The goal we should pursue is to maximize this important talent through knowledge, preparation, rehearsal, and performance.
Top-notch entrepreneurs possess and exhibit the critical skills of communication. It is a key characteristic of successful business builders.
Who are your favorite leaders and how did they communicate most effectively? I'd love to hear your examples. You can reach me at www.AlanEHall.com or connect with me at @AskAlanEHall.
Alan E. Hall is a co-founding managing director of Mercato Partners, a regionally focused growth capital investment firm. He founded Grow Utah Ventures, is the founder of MarketStar Corp. and is the chairman of the Utah Technology Council.