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Learn, rehearse, review, improve

If you strive to be an excellent communicator, you will become a better, more effective leader. This is why all the leaders I spoke with focused on continuous improvement, fuelled by full and frank feedback on each and every performance. Brilliant leadership can be the difference between outstanding performance and disappointing failure. Great leaders steer organizations to success, inspire and motivate followers, and provide a moral compass for employees to set direction. They spearhead change, drive innovation and communicate a compelling vision for the future. The ability to motivate and inspire others is the characteristic most commonly cited as important when recruiting senior leaders. Communication is the tool that enables inspiring leadership. The simple truth is that you have to get better at it.

So that’s it. Those are the 12 principles. In my book The Language of Leaders, I reported on interviews with 70 leaders and told many of the stories they had told me to bring to life the principles. In this book I will show you more about how to think about each of the 12 principles, and provide you with the process to use to improve your own performance.

Figure 3.2 shows where you can find advice on each of these principles.

Figure 3.2: Where to find more on each principle

My goal is to help you become a more inspiring communicator, and by so doing help you to become a better leader. It is not my goal to make you a technically perfect orator. You will be all the more effective if you can be both, but my observation is that you don’t have to be. Passion, conviction, clarity, character and context – these things matter more, as we will see in the next chapter.

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