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We all have our own experiences with someone we think of as a leader. Perhaps the person you’re thinking of was loud and gregarious, able to perk up your morale without too much effort. Perhaps they were quiet yet supportive, gently nudging you and guiding you in the right direction. Whatever your version of a leader is, I’m sure there are a few similarities between the various definitions. Those similarities most likely reside in their communication skills.  

You see, strong leaders are incredible communicators. They lead through specific and learned communication skills that help them command a room, earn respect, and teach others to lead through osmosis. Below are two communication skills that most leaders possess but are under discussed and underrated.

Knowledge of Body Language

Would you rather approach your boss if they were smiling or while they were scowling? How about if their arms were folded instead of down at their side? Without knowing it, you make dozens of communication choices in a given day based on someone’s body language. The way we hold ourselves and move our bodies gives particular messages to those around us.

Closed off body language, such as avoiding eye contact or crossed arms, can make us appear intimidating and unapproachable. Great leaders can typically be found using open body language that makes them appear friendly and helpful. What’s more, they understand how to read body language to ensure that they are communicating in a way that demonstrates their understanding of another person’s current physical demeanor.

The Ability to Tell a Moving Story

As humans, we understand the power of a good story. We inhale books and media that make us feel connected and a part of something bigger. Great leaders understand that pull, that need for connection. Through telling personal stories that relate to a challenge or goal at hand, leaders are able to establish a connection with those around them and inspire people to rise to a challenge.

Stories help give way to groundbreaking innovations, global companies, and human feats. In short, storytelling unites. Leaders who are able and willing to share their personal stories give those they lead an idea to cling onto and work towards, which, in turn, helps a group or organization hurtle towards its goal.

At its core, leadership is all about communication. Whether we’re guiding someone with our words or comforting them through our demeanor, we’re constantly sending messages. A strong knowledge of body language and a timely delivery of a story can go a long way in motivating someone or helping them through a difficult situation.