Communication Is The Proven Path to Leadership

As a leader, the responsibility of communicating effectively rests squarely on your own shoulders.

“It is simply impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator,” observes leadership writer, Mike Myatt in Forbes magazine. As a leader, the responsibility of communicating effectively rests squarely on your own shoulders. This is true even if you are fortunate enough to have a communications department or team of speechwriters at your beck and call.

The good news is that, even if you are not a born communicator, the strategies behind powerful communication can be learned. As an in-demand executive speech coach and the creator of FrippVT, I have helped those in leadership positions – and those aspiring to lead – speak effectively and harness the power of great communication. My friend and fellow speaker, Dr. Jeffrey Magee, PDM, CSP, CMC, is a leadership strategist. I share these ideas from Jeffrey on how leaders can improve communication effectiveness:

Communication Effectiveness
The Three-Level Exchange Process to Value-Based Action!
by Dr. Jeffrey Magee, PDM, CSP, CMC

As a leader, how the other party interprets your message is crucial for the exchange process to occur. Understanding the act of communicating to another person or groups in the work place and in which level of the communication exchange process you are residing is also important to word economy and communication breakdown avoidance.

If you were to have an out-of-body experience and observe yourself communicating with someone either significantly younger or significantly older than yourself, you would notice how your behavioral patterns change, without much pain or effort, to allow for a successful exchange. When one transitions into a communication exchange with someone in the same peer group, however, many of the exchange process breakdowns occur due to simple resistance or avoidance to what one just did effortlessly with the youth or elder.

So, what are these behaviors, and what are the three exchange process steps to value-based action on the part of the recipient in your communication exchanges?

1. VALUE of that signal to that recipient causes action!

2. UNDERSTANDING of the communication signal being sent by the recipient is essential for the exchange process to evolve upward. Tailoring the message intent by using the appropriate words, syntax, tone, emphasis, imagery, stories, examples and statistics that the recipient can actually comprehend is essential at this second exchange level!

3. RECEIPT/RECEIVED of the message itself is obviously necessary if the message being sent is to be processed and acted upon. Many times, managers and leaders merely craft a message with little regard for the actual recipients. They send that message through the communication airwaves and assume it will be received and acted upon.

As a tactical leader, ensuring communication exchange success is dependent upon your ability to deploy the individual steps necessary to ensure each level is addressed thoroughly!

Here are several immediate application techniques to ensure each step is addressed as thoroughly as necessary and you don’t overkill any one level.

RECEIVED – Ensuring that the signal is received dictates an awareness of any possible interference issues and objectively looking at the transmission of the communication exchange from a broader perspective. Make sure you communicate at the right time and place. Be sensitive to what is happening in the other person’s environment, and ask for verification that it has been received. A

Also, inquire if they would like the signal delivered in a different format than how you are delivering it at that present moment. The objective is to do something to ensure that if you are taking the time to send a message, it is, in fact, being received.

If you do not receive any immediate feedback confirming a message’s receipt, assume the responsibility to follow up with them in the near future to solicit feedback and determine if it was received. If you receive feedback that the message has been received, cease the delivery activity and evolve upward to the second communication exchange level. Another tactical way to ensure a signal is being received – with minimal interference – would be to ask the recipient to repeat the message; this will ensure the message is correctly relayed. Give the signal a bounce back mechanism – an email return receipt, a phone call response or a postal receipt vehicle – to merely let you know level one has successfully been accomplished.

UNDERSTOOD – Ensure that you adjust how the message is constructed so the recipient can understand and process its meaning. A lot of times, the core reason a person does not take action (Level Three, VALUE) in a communication exchange is due in large part to a breakdown at level two.

This is where one adjusts the jargon, slang, code words, phrases, vocal tones, speed, pitch and pace of the communication signal being delivered. This allows for an accent that can break down understanding based upon the level of education, knowledge, training or experience the parties involved in the communication interaction have!

The use of PowerPoint, handouts, slides, signage, literature, business cards, notes, audio and anything else used to reinforce the understanding of the message must be used judiciously and concluded at the precise moment the recipient clues you into the fact that they understand. The danger of continuing can be the complete disconnect by the recipient to the sender in the communication exchange process!

VALUE – When a signal has value, it motivates the recipient to take action. Your objective in crafting the signal is to build it from the other person’s vested interest level and perspective – the old “what’s in it for me” syndrome!

Motivating the recipient to take action is the net result of effectively crafting your message to evolve through the three levels. A person can sense value only when your message addresses two core needs: Pleasure or Pain. If they sense a better outcome, elevation in status or enrichment of any level, the “Pleasure” is implied, and the recipient will tend to sense a level of value and take action. Conversely, if your message communicates a worsening of lifestyle, status or position, “Pain” has been implied. If that reaches a level the recipient cannot tolerate, the action will again be taken.

The effective leader recognizes all of the nuances that tactically influence effective communication exchanges and strives to ensure he or she takes the necessary steps at each individual level to attain success with the intended recipient. — Dr. Jeff Magee

Jeff Magee
Dr. Jeffrey Magee, PDM, CSP, CMC

Dr. Jeff Magee, PDM, CSP, CMC has been called “The Thought Leader’s Thought Leader.” He holds a PhD in Organizational Psychology, is a Certified Speaking Professional, a Certified Management Consultant, and a Certified Professional Direct Marketer. He is one of the elite few professional speakers worldwide with both a CMC and a CSP. As the author of more than 20 books, his work includes four college textbooks and four bestsellers. Jeff served for four years as an appointed Civil Service Commissioner of the City/County of Tulsa Oklahoma before relocating to Montana in 2010. The United States ARMY National Guard, along with President George Bush, recognized his civilian contribution to the leadership development of the United States Army National Guard with the “Total Team Victory Award/Citation.” As a Human Capital Developer, he has worked with businesses and individuals whose goals demand increased productivity and profitability for over 20 years. For more information visit: and

Thank you Jeffrey!

Fripp Virtual TrainingPatricia Fripp simplifies and demystifies the path to becoming a great communicator. If you need to persuade, influence, and inspire others; build confidence in your corporate strategy; cultivate loyalty within your organization; move your team to action; and demonstrate to others why your products, services, and ideas are truly valuable, why not improve your presentation skills with Fripp Virtual TrainingGet results on your own schedule. Take advantage of your free trial.

Executive Speech Coach and Hall of Fame Keynote Speaker Patricia Fripp works with individuals and companies who realize that powerful, persuasive presentation skills give them a competitive edge.