If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it numerous times: If you are a speaker, you are seen as a leader. It matters not whether you like it or not. So, what does it take for someone to be a good leader?
Some people believe that you must be born with leadership skills. To that, I say, “Pshaw!” While it may be true that some people possess a natural inclination toward leadership and, perhaps, natural aptitudes that help them step into that role, leadership skills can be learned. Like anything else, you get better at it with practice — with or without natural inclinations and aptitudes.
A Good Leader—and Speaker—Has Confidence
When you are leading others, you need to display confidence — one of the top three characteristics of effective speakers. When people view you as a confident leader and speaker, they are more likely to do what you ask of them. But keep in mind that there is a difference between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is a belief in your capacity to succeed—arrogance is a belief in your infallibility.
Lead by Example
One of the key features of a modern leader is leading by example. Gone are the days that a “leader” can simply bark orders at people and expect those orders to be followed without a sense that the leader is at least willing to do the tasks themselves. Good leaders are role models.
How does this translate to speakers? Effective speakers weave stories into their presentation that show they understand where their audience is coming from. Sometimes this takes the form of “I’ve been there too” stories. As a speaker, you are a role model for what is possible for your audience.
A Good Leader—and Speaker—Is Self-Accountable
Good leaders take responsibility for their actions. They don’t pass the blame onto others. Understand that leaders are allowed to make mistakes. How they recover from those mistakes defines their ability to lead. Leaders who try to hide from problems, lose the confidence that others have placed in them.
When things go wrong on the stage—and at some point, they will–own up to the mistakes and figure out an alternative course of action so your audience gets what you intended to give them. Good leaders and speakers aren’t afraid of their mistakes, they learn from them.
There Is Always a Big Picture Vision Pulling a Good Leader Forward
A key characteristic of a good — dare I say great — leader is having a vision. You should have a big-picture vision that you are working to achieve and have the ability to inspire those you lead to buy into that vision.
For a speaker, you hold a vision for the success of your audience and during your presentation, you lead them from where they are to a point closer to that vision.
Leaders and Speakers are Good Listeners
Good leaders are good listeners. What this means is you need to be responsible for every decision, even the ones that you thought you were delegating. Hire the right people and let them do their jobs. Listen to their concerns. Listening to others does not imply caving in to their demands. You simply need to take what others say into consideration.
Successful speakers listen to the needs and wants of their target audience so that they can develop effective presentations and programs for them. In addition, they listen to their audience in the moment so they can tailor their speeches on the fly to meet their immediate needs.
As you can see, speakers and leaders have a lot in common. So, if you want to be a better speaker, it is a good idea to work on your leadership skills, as well.
Would you like to improve your potential and influence?
It takes hard work, courage and a willingness to take risks to be an effective leader. You have to be able to find solutions to problems and make things better while not falling apart yourself. Being a leader means being a role model for people to follow and doing things that will help the community, your employees or even the world be improved.
This 13-page report shares 5 features of a good leader, 7 leadership mistakes and how to avoid them, how leadership works in different areas of life, and more.
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