You might have great ideas for your small business, but if you can’t reach your employees, you’ll never communicate your ideas or inspire your team. But laying out your vision for your staff requires more than just giving speeches. It requires establishing an assertive presence as a vocal leader.
Being a vocal leader requires expressing your views, but not by loudly proclaiming your opinions on every subject. Rather, being a vocal leader means being able to deliver your messages in ways your staff can understand, which often requires a nuanced approach. For example, instead of issuing long diatribes during group meetings to lay out your plans for an upcoming project, hold individual meetings instead. Personal conversations let you tailor your message to each individual, increasing your influence and focusing your impact.
If timidity keeps you from exerting your influence, overcome your insecurity by stepping outside your comfort zone. When someone asks for your opinion, speak up confidently. Don’t worry about getting it perfect. Instead, focus solely on overcoming your reticence. As you participate more, you’ll find it easier to jump into the mix. More important, challenging yourself will force you to grow as a leader. As your skills develop, so will your confidence.
Some people aren’t vocal because they aren’t sure what to say, or they’re afraid they won’t be taken seriously. Develop your reputation as a credible expert to build your confidence and lend authenticity to your leadership. For example, if you want to be a more vocal leader in the area of employee safety, establish your credibility by researching how leading companies in your industry handle workplace hazards. Learn the relevant laws, and design some policy initiatives for your organization to discuss. When you back your opinions with fact, you’ll find it easy to get people to follow your lead.
Being a vocal leader requires more than just saying words out loud. It requires being assertive, which is a quality that depends as much on style as substance. For example, if your explicit directions to your employees are clear, but your body language tells them you don’t believe what you’re saying, your message will be mixed. Develop an assertive style by maintaining eye contact, using your hands to punctuate your points as necessary, and standing with your shoulders squared and your chin up. With time and practice, your assertive style will develop and increase your impact as a speaker.