Leadership means ‘Succeeding to Convince Others’ !

There are many leaders who fail to convince others and as a result – reduce the momentum, interest, capacity and willingness to change in their followers. Typically, such a leader is using only his position in the corporate hierarchy to generate loyalty from his followers or those who report to him. This is not a long-standing solution ! A leader should lead by motivating others, and through the faith placed on him by his followers.

People who, despite their good intentions, fail to connect emotionally with their followers fall at the bottom of the ‘influence competence’ hierarchy. They may mean well but they lack the means to get their message across. In many board room presentations, the leaders/ speakers who rely largely on visual aids such as elaborate overhead projections or elegant statistical analysis of data (decorated in Excel sheets) can miss the boat and get stranded. It is mainly the question of connecting with the audience. I feel, the audience must emotionally get engaged, but mediocre speakers rarely go beyond the same Excel formatted data presented in each presentation. They feel ‘loaded’ if they have the data that is often flashily displayed in different font sizes and colors. This does not connect well with an audience which is prepared to listen to the speaker, with their existing or limiting capabilities.

Let me cite an example – lately, I was delivering a lecture/ talk on ‘Communication and Soft Skills’ in a MBA classroom filled with more of vernacular medium educated students, who did not understand English so well as those who pass out from English medium educated high schools understood. I observed this limitation in the first 15 minutes of my 2 hour presentation and I quickly changed to language ‘Hindi coupled with English’. I sought interaction from the students at every instance required, to add momentum in their speed of learning what I taught. And, I became persuasive to ensure I am getting across. Without an accurate reading of how a listener is taking in an idea, that idea or tutorial is in danger of falling on deaf, indifferent, or even hostile ears. How can I convince if they do not listen or understand what I say ? Yes, it is indeed a challenge and earlier the speaker or trainer faces this challenge effectively, faster he will succeed to convince others.

No matter how intellectually brilliant we may be, that brilliance will fail to shine if we are not persuasive. The signs of weakness in the ability to persuade include :

1. Failure to build a partnership with the audience during presentations.
2. Too much dependence on past successful techniques, not realizing what will work in the present times.
3. Being too bull-headed in presenting our point of view without acknowledging feedback from listeners.
4. Unable to inspire the followers.
5. Building Hostility among audience through high handed approach.

It is essential to get connected or getting the listeners to ‘buy-in’ what we are presenting. In most cases, Leadership is the ability to convince others. Why would anyone follow the leader if they do not get convinced by him or her ? If they do not believe in the Leader, why would the followers trust him or her ? At Rambuna Consultants, Leadership development is an interactive training module besides definite follow-up after the completion of training program to ensure success among its participants. Presentation Skills and building effective communication ability among the audience is given its due importance in each session.

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