As an executive, you are responsible for managing a wide variety of operations within your field. People look to you for decisions, guidance, evaluations and direction. Your ability to serve effectively is largely dependent upon your ability to effectively communicate these kinds of information. Effective executive communication differs from effective communication at lower professional levels because of the expectations associated with that level of leadership, making the study and understanding of effective executive communication important to executive success.
Executive communication should establish a sense of authority by fostering a strong sense of credibility. This is usually accomplished by referring to your extensive experience or by cultivating a strong reputation of excellence in a given field. Authority is important as an executive communicator because it commands respect and attention from your audience.
Effective executive communication should always be dependable. Dependability can be created by always using thoroughly vetted information. This means that all claims in the communicative process should be supported by strong data. This data should have been checked over by multiple sources to ensure reliability and accuracy, as unreliable information can cause the individual a leader is responsible for guiding to lose faith in their assessments and future directives.
No matter what kind of communication is being executed, effective executive communication will include some form of structure. Structure in communication refers to a concrete organization of information before it is presented. This may include organizing an evaluation into strengths, weaknesses and recommendations, or arranging a presentation for a new directive by categorizing the different benefits it will bring to the table. Structure like this is important because it makes the message easy to understand and remember.
Executive communication should always take on a professional tone. A professional tone is recognizable by its cultural sensitivity, adherence to the ideals of the professional setting it takes place in, and focus on the matters being discussed.
A professional tone is incredibly important in executive communication for a couple of reasons. First, executive communication is usually more widely distributed than communication from a lower level management or entry level post, meaning that the message must be suitable for a very wide audience. The best way to attain that suitability is to make sure that it is written in a professional tone. Second, as an executive, your words reflect on the company as a whole, which makes it much more important for you to monitor how you say certain things for the good of the company.
Despite the need for a professional tone and very focused approach, effective executive communication should also be enthusiastic. In a position of leadership, you are responsible for motivating the individuals working under you. As such, your messages should have an underlying sense of energy, regardless of the purpose. New directives should be communicated with a sense of urgency and excitement. Accomplishments should be heralded with pride and admiration. Mistakes should be addressed with a pinch of gravitas. Developing a level of enthusiasm in executive communication can help motivate the individuals receiving your message to pay more attention to what is being said, increasing the effectiveness of the communication process.
"How to Say it for Executives: The Complete Guide to Communication for Leaders"; Phyllis Mindell; 2005
"Executive Presence: The Art of Commanding Respect Like a CEO"; Harrison Monarth; 2009
"Speak Like a CEO: Secrets for Commanding Attention and Getting Results: Secrets for Communicating Attention and Getting Results"; Suzanne Bates; 2005