Leadership is about communicating the desired information either to the co-workers, subordinates and peers (Barrett 34). While passing this information, leaders ought to draw attention from the intended audience. Leaders can utilize several ways of gaining attention from the audience. Some of the methods are effective meaning that the target audience would understand the leader’s information due to the increased attention from the audience (Denning 116). Conversely, some of the methods may be inappropriate, making the audience guess the meaning of the information due to lack of attention. Essentially, attaining the audience attention is one of the major attributes of effective communication (Rice 24).
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One of the methods of ineffective communication is the use of hype. According to Denning, hype can be applied to attain attention by making the audience believe that all people are concerned over the same issue 152. The problem with hype is that it generates the feelings of manipulation on the audience. Besides, the audience may feel pressured by the leader’s anticipations and beliefs (Denning 152). For instance, creating the impression that a certain product is liked all over the market to excite the co-workers might generate increased pressure on the workforce concerning the augmented expectations of the leader.
Besides the use of hype, the leader may attempt to tell the story of the present position of the firm. The use of such stories tends to be ineffective ways of attaining the attention of the audience (Denning 152). The reason is that attention are drawn when the speeches begins from the perspective of the audience (Denning 152). Telling about the firm indicate the position of the leader instead of the audience. In other words, audience will not pay attention to information concerning the leader and the firm rather, would attend to issues that concern them.
The other ineffective ways of gaining attention of the audience is just stating the facts without providing real life examples (Denning 154. Stating facts without providing the real life illustrations create boredom. In some instances, the target audiences are acquainted with the facts that are being provided. What is required is how to relate the facts with the themes or questions being addressed (Denning 154). As such, leaders have to connect the presented facts with the real life illustrations in order to gain attention of the workers.
While the mentioned communication strategies have proved to be ineffective in most circumstances, other methods are slightly effective. The slightly effective communication strategies include the use of real cases, provide related and surprising topic, overemphasize the topic of discussion, include jokes and create frames as well as use of pictures (Denning 156). The use of real cases and objects would only be effective when the attributes of the case or object directly relate to the topic of discussion. The use of surprises would draw attention of the audiences from the topic of discussion (Denning 156). In other words, audience would pay attention to the surprise instead of the leader’s speech. The springboard story is slightly effective due to the fact that it rarely provide successful situation with close similarity. Similarly, jokes cannot be effective unless it is used in relation to the issues being addressed. In addition, use of pictures would be effective if the visual appearance is capable of drawing attention on the concerned topic.
Methods of gaining attention
While various methods proved to be ineffective in gaining attention, working on other methods can improve the attention of the audience. In other words, leaders can gain attention of the audience using various methods including use of questions, storytelling, introducing salient representations and introducing the unpredicted activities (Denning 160). While these strategies seemed to be simple, they remain to be effective way of gaining attention of the audience. However, the most effective way of drawing attention of the audience is through understanding the position or the situation of the workers (Ruddick 24). Being in the situation of the workers build trust with the workers and is emotionally stimulating (Ruddick 24). Majority of leaders have used the method by highlighting the seriousness of the issues raised by the audience. The other way is providing a real life story that directly relate to the issues being addressed and stimulating the emotional attachment to draw attention of the listeners (Denning 160). Asking a question relating to the topic is also relevant since it evokes other questions that the audience can have a focus.
Depending with the circumstances and the type of the audience, leaders can use several ways to attain the audience’s attention. However, leaders have to be cautious not to apply ineffective methods that will withdraw the attention of the audience. Besides, spending too much time focusing on how to gain the attention of the audience may also alter the direction of the topic and change the meaning of the message (Denning 160). Once the leader has gained the required attention, the leader can create the desire for change among the audience.
Barrett, Debora. Leadership Communication. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2013. Print.
Denning, Stephen. The Secret Language of Leadership: How Leaders Inspire Action Through Narrative. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2011. Print.
Rice, Clifford. Effective Communications: The Important Techniques That Will Help You Improve Your Communication Skill. Birmingham, UK: Alex Coffey, 2007. Print.
Ruddick, Gayle Elizabeth. Intergenerational Leadership Communication in the Workplace. Ann Arbor, MI: ProQuest, 2009. Print.