Public speaking is often talked about as an essential skill for leaders. It’s regarded as one of the best ways to connect with and inspire teams. As important is it’s considered, rarely do people talk about how leaders can connect through public speaking.
At Speaker Labs, we love the challenge of trying to continuously evolve the strategies and ideas that help people connect through exceptional public speaking. This past weekend though, I started thinking about other ways leaders can connect.
It was Sunday afternoon, and the weather was sunny and clear skies, so I grabbed a book and went to a park near my house to dive in. It was the process of getting lost in the written word that got me thinking about the differences between connecting through speaking, and connecting through writing. Both involve language, but I think there’s some fascinating differences.
Writing is like a carving. Once it’s published, it’s there. It’s written down and can’t be changed. Speech is more fleeting. When someone says something, it is out there to be interpreted. When I’m in the park reading, I could still interpret the writing, but it feels like I am not collaborating with the writer in finding meaning. I read and then I try to figure out what the author means.
Connecting through speech is a two way art. When you speak to someone, you create meaning together. What you say is such a small percentage of the meaning that you convey. When people talk, the way they say something, their body language, and countless other factors create meaning. Conversation is a way for two people to find meaning together.
If you’re trying to connect with your employees or co-workers, it’s better to have a candid conversation. Communication is more meaningful when two people explore it and find meaning in it together. Sometimes an email just doesn’t do the trick.