The one-sentence summary

Inspiring communication can make the difference between poor performance and exceptional results, and the top CEOs have 12 principles to achieve this.


· Inspiring communication can make the difference between poor performance and exceptional results.

· Extensive interviews with business leaders allow the author to draw up 12 principles of leadership communication:

1. Be yourself, better

2. Articulate, share and live a compelling mission and powerful values

3. Create a clear and vivid view of the future, and tell everybody

4. Bring the outside in – build relationships and trust

5. Engage and align people through conversations

6. Embrace audience centricity – it’s all about them

7. Listen hard to inspire – be interested, respectful and patient

8. Stand up to stand out – you need a point of view

9. Use stories and anecdotes to motivate people

10. Don’t send out signals that undermine your words

11. Prepare properly for public platforms – your reputation is at stake

12. Learn, rehearse, review, improve – always try to get better

· In other words, it’s the language of leaders that can often be the difference.


· If you want to be a good leader, or are advising one, the principles here can be followed methodically in the style of a textbook.

· Senior leaders were asked to name their most important piece of advice, and the top five were:

  1. Look to yourself in order to become a great communicator
  2. You have to communicate your vision, values and mission effectively
  3. Concentrating on your audience is critical – listening and saying the right things
  4. Be visible, and engage constantly
  5. Never give up trying to improve your communication

· There are lots of wide-ranging anecdotes, and plenty of wisdom from people who have been there and done it.


· It’s the old problem. You could probably follow all the advice here and not necessarily be a ‘great’ leader. Many would argue that truly great leaders have a special something that no technique can teach. No harm in trying though.