7 Leadership Speaking Skills You Need to Be a Great Leader

Anyone can be in a leadership role but to be a true leader, one needs to have good leadership skills, including being a powerful speaker. This applies equally whether they’re managing employees, delegating tasks, or working with company executives, partners, or investors. 

Speaking like a leader goes far beyond just sounding like one. Leadership speaking skills encompass a range of important communication skills, from how you listen to how you inspire and embody certain attributes. In this article, we’ll share our top seven leadership speaking skills to master if you want to become a great leader and communicator. 

Active Listening

Part of being a great leader is being able to serve your audience, team, etc., and the best way a leader can begin to serve is by listening. Being a great speaker and overall communicator starts with being a great listener, and it’s imperative that leaders actively and genuinely listen to those they lead to be able to effectively do their job. People desire to feel heard, and people tend to favor leadership that prioritizes listening to others. 

Active and effective listening gives leaders the knowledge and perspective to increase their leadership capacity by being open to feedback, new ideas, and learning opportunities while including their team or audience in their process. 

Open Body Language

Someone can be saying one thing, but if their body language doesn’t match, it could send listeners the wrong message, or lead to ineffective communication. For leaders, being aware of, and improving upon, their body language in order to become more effective communicators and leaders is essential. Part of being a great leader is being able to inspire and motivate others and get the message across; in order to do so, warm and accepting body language while speaking is key. 

It’s important for leaders to become more aware of their body language when communicating with their team and make a conscious effort to improve upon it. It’s also an important communication skill for leaders to be able to read other people’s body language. 

Some key leadership body language tips:

  • Make eye contact when speaking and listening
  • Don’t cross your arms
  • Smile more—when appropriate
  • Stand with a powerful, open, and confident posture


People are more likely to feel connected with leaders to whom they can relate. The best way for leaders to build that connection and trust with their team is by being vulnerable and utilizing storytelling skills in their speaking. Sharing personal stories with listeners helps establish a stronger connection and inspires others. 

When a deeper or emotional connection is made, it sticks with people longer and is more motivational because they can relate to it. Leaders who are willing to be vulnerable and open with their team, share personal stories related to their work, and open up about difficult times and how they’ve moved past them, are typically more able to motivate and inspire their team through challenging times and reach their goals. 

Adaptive Communication Style

Not everyone communicates in the same way, and not everyone responds in the same way to certain types of communication. One of the most effective speaking skills a leader can learn is how to adapt their speaking style from person to person in order to communicate effectively with all, not just some. 

When one can learn how to connect with someone on an individual level as well as the team as a whole through their speaking is when really impactful leadership is created. The best way to start learning how to adapt one’s speaking and communication styles to suit each individual’s communication preferences is by getting to know each person one will be leading and start changing what is said and how it’s said based on the audience.

Speak with Genuine Kindness

Leaders that can learn to infuse their speaking with integrity, goodwill, and empathy will find it goes a long way toward determining how effective their communication is with those they’re leading. People who sense a leader isn’t being genuine when speaking will not trust nor be inspired and motivated by that leader. By showing others genuine kindness, integrity, and fairness when speaking, a leader will more easily earn the trust of others and find it easier to motivate and achieve goals together.

Leaders can earn this trust by infusing their communication and speaking with:

  • Integrity: Being open and honest and speaking with integrity goes a long way in building a foundation of trust and strong leadership between a leader and their team members. People are more willing to follow a leader who is actually upfront and honest and walks their talk. 
  • Goodwill: Similar to the importance of active listening, leaders are more likely to make an effective, long-term impact when they actually demonstrate caring about their team’s needs rather than fulfilling their own desires and goals above all others. 
  • Empathy: With leadership comes power, but it also comes with the ability to truly understand others and be a voice of change for everyone involved. When leaders use their power and stance to empathize with others, they can fuel collective or organizational change and create a better connection between leaders and their teams. 

Promote Engagement and Feedback

Speaking as a leader isn’t just about actually speaking to others. It’s also about creating a space for others to speak, be heard, and contribute. No one likes a leader who doesn’t let anyone else talk. On top of active listening, promoting a space for conversation, engagement, and contributing feedback are also important factors. Great leaders should be actively encouraging others to speak up, engage, contribute, and provide feedback for the group and for the leader. 

This not only helps build a stronger relationship between leader and team members but also helps increase productivity, ingenuity, and effectiveness in reaching organizational goals in a more seamless way. 

Be an Effective Motivator

Motivational speaking is a no-brainer for every leader. Whether one is a leader of a small department or an entire company, being able to inspire and motivate team members is crucial for achieving company objectives and keeping employees engaged and satisfied within their careers. 

One knows they’ve become a great leader when they’ve mastered getting team members inspired, motivated, and engaged through the way they speak. One of the best ways to achieve this is by understanding universal human needs and desires and behavioral drivers and touching on them in one’s speaking and communication. When a leader can learn how to frame their message in a way that speaks to how it will help others achieve their needs and desires, they’ll be able to lead more easily and effectively. 

The Bottom Line

Great leadership starts with great speaking. Being able to speak effectively and truly communicate with team members is how one becomes a true leader of people and creates effective and lasting connections and impact within an organization. If you’re looking to effectively motivate and lead your team through any goal and challenge, these tips and speaking skills will help you level up your communication to do just that.

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Chris Dyer is a company culture and leadership expert and CMO of PeopleG2, which has continuously been ranked as one of the best places to work. If you’re interested in learning about how Chris can help you prioritize leadership speaking and communication skills within your organization, reach out to get in contact today.