Great leadership depends on effective communication.  This is especially true in business, where communication skills can make or break a successful enterprise. From understanding the art of making small talk to giving constructive feedback, communicating with persuasion, credibility, and executive presence can inspire others to want to do more.

Elements of Effective Communication

Like music or painting, the art of compelling communication is practiced and refined over a lifetime. The virtuoso never stops honing their craft. Here are some tips for business leaders or anyone who depends on communication written, verbal and visual to accomplish goals and inspire others.

Have empathy. To communicate with empathy “reposition” your message. Get outside of your own head and consider the perspectives of those whom you wish to influence.

Project clarity. A muddled, disjointed message falls flat. Before you open your mouth or put pen to paper, make sure you have a clear understanding of what you’re trying to communicate and how best to convey your message. Practice it on your own. Make a recording and self-critique. Iterate and revise as needed.

Understand non-verbal cues. Picking up on non-verbal cues is crucial. Being attuned to facial expression, body language, eye contact, and other non-verbal signals helps determine how well your message lands with your intended audience.

Have confidence. If you don’t have confidence in what you’re saying, nobody else will either. Foster confidence through preparation and a clearly defined message.

Listen carefully. Communication falters without active listening. If people perceive you aren’t listening to them, they are less likely to listen to you. This ties in with empathy. Your task is not to dominate but to persuade, influence, and inspire. Listening to others shows that you care about their ideas. It is the best opportunity to adjust your communication and accomplish the goals of your message.

The Influential Communicator

Business professionals can take their communications skills to the next level with The Influential Communicator business certificate from the Kelley School. The in-residence, week-long program covers topics including persuasion, credibility, executive presentation, writing for results, meeting facilitation, and the components of an influential presentation.

The course is geared for technically proficient professionals at a point in their careers where effective communication is a core responsibility in their day-to-day work.

Students who complete The Influential Communicator certificate will be able to:

  • Tailor your message for a specific audience
  • Master clarity, credibility, and conviction in your speech
  • Effectively facilitate discussion groups and learn to attain consensus
  • Nurture key relationships and build trust
  • Create written and verbal messages the attract attention and get desired results
  • Leverage your individual style with a custom communication action plan

Each day of the week-long program consists of a separate course addressing a new topic and set of skills. The courses include:

Communicating to Enhance Your Credibility

It’s all about trust. A relationship built on trust is all but guaranteed to bring better results. Building trust demands credibility.

  • Ways to build your trust quotient with colleagues and clients.
  • Understand and practice credibility cues that indicate your trustworthiness to others.
  • Learn the Big 5 trust factors and how to build on each one.
  • Record a “tell us about yourself” elevator speech in our studio. Review the recording with your Kelley faculty coach.
  • Assess your credibility strengths and weaknesses.

Communicating to Influence

  • Organize your thoughts, even extemporaneously, to create clear, concise, and convincing messages.
  • Review the common writing errors that diminish your credibility.
  • Create persuasive visualizations of complex data.
  • Create two documents that build credibility, either an email or one-page memo and a LinkedIn profile update. Get feedback from Kelley School communication experts.
  • Practice coaching others in peer review of other students’ documents.

Communicate to Inspire

Arguably the most effective way to influence others is through inspiration. An inspirational message will light a fire in others, motivating them to follow your lead.

  • Learn the art of storytelling and emotional appeal to capture the hearts and minds of your listeners and readers.
  • Conclude the day by recording an inspirational, emotionally compelling “award” presentation.
  • Review your recorded presentation with your Kelley School coaching team. Get expert feedback on ways to improve your inspirational speaking.

Communicating in Difficult Situations

  • Practice being in the “hot seat.”
  • Learn ways to effectively manage a meeting when it goes off the rails.
  • Develop skills to handle hostility and conflict.
  • Review what you learned and how to improve with your Kelley School coach.

Communicating with Authenticity and Flexibility

  • Use the Keirsey Assessment to determine your communication style.
  • Practice using your style to inspire and motivate others.
  • Build a communication flex chart to map key professional relationships and how to best communicate with them.
  • Work with your Kelley School coach to create a final action plan with actionable steps to apply your learning in your personal and professional life.

But for a poorly phrased comment or misunderstood suggestion between two people, a great idea can fall unfulfilled. The Influential Communicator business certificate from the Kelley School is your key to becoming a better leader and a more persuasive, inspiring, and effective communicator.