Become a Better Communicator: Steal These 5 Tricks From The Leaders


Good artists copy, great artists steal, said Pablo Picasso (supposedly) But why artists should have all the fun.

So, in this post, we are going to steal a few lessons from the leaders and apply them to our communication style to become better communicators.

What do leaders do?

I’d argue that their main job is to communicate.

A leader is someone who’s the face of their institution. That’s why it’s no surprise that successful leaders also tend to be amazing communicators.

So who probably can teach us to be better communicators than the people whose job is to make sure that the stakeholders across the board “get it“.

And when I say good communicator, I don’t mean people who love the sound of their voices and can talk endlessly.

By communicating I mean telling a story, bringing a change, making something better…

Look at this TED talk by Arunachalam Muruganantham for example. The audience is hanging on to his words.
They are laughing with him and cheering and him. They are least bothered about how his English is.

Communication is a key part of success at work or in other parts of your life.

So let’s go ahead and look at some of the communication strategies used by the top leaders of the world and use them to communicate better.

#1 Learn to listen

Einstellung is a phenomenon where an idea already developed and strengthened, may prevent a better idea or solution from being found.

The only way out of Einstellung is learning to listen to other people’s ideas carefully.

Successful leaders know that and that’s why they make ‘listening’ a crucial part of communication.

Learn to love listening and engage with the stories of others.

Here are a few strategies you can apply to develop a better listening habit:

  • Be focused on the conversation instead of being distracted by your phone or your next meeting. Have one conversation at a time to give each individual your undivided attention.
  • Take mental notes. Convert those notes to a story and tell it to yourself. You’ll be amazed how effortlessly you’ll be able to remember your conversation without even taking notes.
  • Everyone wants to be heard. If you pay attention, others will notice that you’re listening to them. They will leave the conversation thinking what a great communicator you are when all you did was to listen!

Learn to listen and you will definitely become a better communicator.

Observe how Bill Gates waits for a full minute before he speaks his first word

#2 Learn to speak the lingo

The trick is to find a balance between sounding like a bro and a bot.

No one likes to talk to someone who uses excessively informal language: uses slang and profanities.

On the other hand, if you use too many difficult words, buzzwords, or excessively formal language you may come across as stuffy and pretentious.

So, find a balance where you don’t sound uneducated but not a robot either.

Here are a few strategies that will help you to find the perfect balance and become a better communicator

  • Use short sentences and simple words. Simple language makes your communication relatable and effective.
  • Avoid unnecessary buzzwords. They make your communication sound hollow.
  • If you are an older person throw in a few lingoes used by the younger folks for a dramatic effect. If you are young do the opposite. But avoid overdoing it.
  • Learn at least the basic lingo that your audience speaks. For example, if you are talking to a web developer look up the basic web development terminologies before your meeting.
Observe how Dr. Shahsi Tharoor kills it using millennial lingo.

#3 Learn to be brief

Brevity is the key to becoming a better communicator.

No one likes 2-hour long meetings.

No one reads 500-word emails.

According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds.

Leaders know that you don’t have to make a long speech to be effective.

Here are a few strategies that will help you develop brevity:

  • Practice being brief and getting your point across with fewer words and less time. People appreciate brief conversations and respect others who don’t go off on tangents.
  • However, ensure you’re still providing enough information while you talk. You don’t want to be vague or miss important details.
  • This skill may take time to develop, so practice it often. The next time you have a conversation, try to get your point across with less talking. Try to summarize the important parts and only focus on them while you talk.
Observe how Obama, one of the greatest leaders of our time, conveys his messages in pithy sentences.

#4 Learn to pay attention to emotions.

If you watch any keynote address by a successful CEO you’ll notice that the members of the audience feel as if she is addressing them personally.

Paying attention to emotional cues makes you a better communicator.

When you talk, learn to take note of how the other person is reacting.

It’s not about you, the key to successful communication is conveying what the other person will gain from the exchange.

Words are powerful, and communication can affect people in many different ways.

Here are a few strategies that will help you develop Emotional Intelligence:

  • Learn to observe people and to pick up on things left unexpressed.
  • Read a few books on behavioral psychology or attend a course.
  • Be emphatic. Empathy makes you human, it makes you real to others.
  • Look at things from multiple points of view. Avoid the urge to offer a solution without even listening to the other person. Remember”Einstellung“.
Observe how Keanu pays attention to a single person in the crowd and thereby uplifts everyone

#5 Be yourself

Communication is not about being charismatic or speaking in a perfect accent. It’s about being your authentic self to the conversation.

I remember Sofía Vergara, the star of Modern Family talking about her experience while struggling for a role.

She got the first big break when she gave up on trying to speak in an American accent and embraced her Latina roots.

And that’s another key factor in becoming a better communicator.

Learn to focus on your message rather than get pressurized thinking if you are good enough.

One of the most important aspects of charisma is confidence, but not arrogance or self-righteousness. Confident communicators know their value and worth, but they’re also respectful of others.

Observes how Sofía Vergara almost deliberately messes up saying discombobulated and the crowd cheers for her.


Successful communicators are interesting because have something valuable to share.

They focus on conveying ideas that give people a spark.

And as the face of their institutions, leaders are often trained to be some of the best communicators.

In this post, we looked at how you can also become a better communicator by observing the leaders and picking up some of their traits.

Practice these traits as often as possible.

Every time you have a conversation with anyone is an opportunity to practice a little more.

And as you know, practice makes you perfect!

All the best…

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Image credit: Photo by Muhammad Faiz Zulkeflee on Unsplash

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