Read the room

“How would you treat your mother?”

With that line she had the attention of the entire room.

A decade ago I was in a meeting with 120 top leaders from the healthcare organization I worked at. Our CEO demonstrated what it takes to be a great communicator. She didn’t tell us what was important to her or to our regulators. She zeroed in on what was important to us. What type of care would we want to design for our own family members?

Mike Myatt, leadership advisor and contributor to Forbes, writes in the 10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders: 

“Great communicators are skilled at reading a person/group by sensing the moods, dynamics, attitudes, values and concerns of those being communicated with. The message is not about the messenger; it has nothing to do with messenger; it is however 100% about meeting the needs and the expectations of those you’re communicating with.”

Myatt encourages leaders to persistently follow 10 principles when communicating to develop the skills needed to be a great communicator.

  1. Speak not with a forked tongue.
  2. Get personal.
  3. Get specific.
  4. Focus on the leave-behinds, not the take-aways.
  5. Have an open mind.
  6. Shut-up and listen.
  7. Replace ego with empathy.
  8. Read between the lines.
  9. When you speak, know what you are talking about.
  10. Speak to groups, not individuals.

(He offers one more – bonus – principle that I will save for those of you who click to his article!)

Who is in the room when you speak, and what do they care about?

Todd Thorsgaard


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