How Financial Leaders Conquer Their Communication

Written by: Susan Young

The words you are using are costing you money.

Business author Donald Miller’s words at a recent conference on leadership, communication and innovation are a wake-up call to executives who struggle with messaging and storytelling.

Communication is forcing leaders—especially those in the financial sector—to reassess their verbal and non-verbal skills.

Are you willing to reach beyond the adage “numbers don’t lie?” Yes, data and statistics are critical to business growth and can bring clarity. Still, too many leaders are failing to get consensus and buy-in from critical stakeholders, influencers, employees and reporters because of weak and confusing:

  • Messaging and branding
  • Analyst interviews
  • Media interviews
  • Business storytelling
  • Interpersonal relationships
  • Your ability to convey a crisp and compelling message, sound bite, email or report is directly tied to revenue and future opportunities. Today’s attention-starved world demands that leaders fine-tune their wording—and personalities—and deliver messages that truly matter.

    Put simply: Charisma counts. A lot.

    I’m hedging bets on leaders who are stepping up to improve their communication styles and engage with people—real human beings.

    Here’s the bottom line: If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’re educated and motivated. The old stories you’ve been playing on your unrelenting internal soundtrack that you’re an introvert, shy and reserved is not serving you well.

    Technology demands that we communicate frequently with our communities and do so with clarity. Like it or not, sound bites rule. The substance can follow, but we must first capture the attention of our fellow humans.

    Hiding behind a keyboard thinking the PR team will handle the blog is a recipe for disaster. Your clients, prospects and stakeholders need—and expect you—to step into the spotlight and share your personality.

    What’s holding you back from weaving your personality and style so others can get to know you?

    In a recent interview I did with marketing expert and author Seth Godin, he said there never was a B2B or B2C model of doing business. Behind every successful company, Godin said, is a human being who decides which vendors to use, when to schedule the company retreat and how to revise an HR policy.

    Related: Gen Z Employees Are Stressed About Money, but Remain Confident

    Connecting with Emotions

    Consider these two examples of organizations that are willing to be vulnerable and “get real” with the public.

    1. A TV commercial from electronics giant Samsung introducing its new QLED technology doesn’t focus on the details but rather the story of a young girl playing soccer against her father’s wishes. The Drum, an online newsletter for marketing and creative professionals, says Samsung is focusing on the emotional bonds that technology can facilitate. A company executive said : “We had to align with brand promise of delivering outstanding viewing experience. The simplicity of the thought has been crafted into a beautiful story making it heartwarming content.”

    2. An online campaign aimed at breaking down stigma’s around mental illness and communication is powerful. A two-minute video on “The Campaign to End Loneliness” or CTEL shows curious children striking up conversations with fellow patrons sitting alone in a coffee shop. The segment highlights what most of us understand cognitively: phones and devices pull us away from heartwarming real-life communication. When we fail to be fully present, our communication—and humanity—suffer. com reminds us to “celebrate the things we share” and bring people together.

    These examples get to the heart of the matter: The emotions that bond and connect us as human beings are an integral part of all of our communication, including business.

    As Godin said: “Today’s the best day to be a human.”

    Take the summer to continue your professional and personal development with a focus on communication.

    It will pay remarkable dividends.