Leadership Communication

Harnessing the Power of Words

The best leaders have always been able to engage their employees, persuade their management teams of the benefits of their ideas, and convince the company to follow their vision. And words are usually the most powerful tool for doing this.


Most of us prepare for a speaking event by worrying over PowerPoint slides or how our handouts look. Then the moment comes when we are standing in front of our audience - and only then do we start to think about what we are going to SAY!

Yet it goes without saying that words are the most important component of any speaking event. They are the vehicle for conveying our thoughts and ideas. They enable us to connect with others. They have the power to move people.

A well-prepared speech or presentation - or even an informal conversation - seems effortless. But nothing which appears effortless ever really is. The greatest speakers ponder the minds of their audience, labour over their choice of words, and craft their phrases like finely-fletched arrows that hit their mark every time.

Compare the following two sentences: 

'His work is powerful.'

'Simplicity, directness and purity give his work power.'

The first statement is short and simple. It has weight because of this.

The second statement begins with a figure of speech known as the tricolon (or rule of three): 'simplicity, directness and purity'. The tricolon gives the sentence a rhythmic balance, building to the third noun - purity.

The sentence ends with the word 'power'; words placed at the beginning or end of a sentence give them increased emphasis. The words preceding this 'give his work' are monosyllabic which lead us on to the climax of the final word - almost like a beating drum.

Both statements have their merits - and their place. And they illustrate well the different effects that can be created with just a few words.

It's important when preparing for any speaking event that you consider what you are going to say - even an ostensibly spontaneous speaking event such as chatting socially or a Q&A session should be prepared in advance - if you want to influence people successfully.

In all their activites, leaders must be able to ‘sell’ themselves -and their visions - and this depends on effective language skills. The right choice of words can forge commitment, build confidence, and generate enthusiasm. 


If you are interested in learning more about our Leadership Communication courses (which include modules on how to develop a winning style and win the hearts and minds of your audience) contact us on:

+44 (0)208 579 6662