When it comes to communicating persuasively, Kelly Decker is an expert. And as the head of a company that coaches business leaders in effective communication, one of her most important lessons is to be yourself.
“It’s like talking in your backyard at a barbecue. That’s what’s likable and engaging about you,” Decker says. “People go into business mode and will be really serious. They think they have to be. Don’t lose yourself. Be yourself. It’s just about dialing a few things up or down.”
That being said, Decker, co-author of Communicate to Influence: How to Inspire Your Audience to Action (McGraw-Hill Education, 2015), also reminds clients to be audience-focused. “It’s not just about what you say but how you say it,” she says. “Our focus is to make this as applicable to clients as possible.”
Key to Decker’s success is a trademarked methodology called the Decker Method, which includes interactive exercises and instruction geared to helping individuals transform their communication habits. “The coolest thing about working with these emerging or existing leaders is about finding out what unlocks potential in them and that empowers them,” Decker says.
She recalls one senior marketing leader who emerged from a training with a clear aha moment. “At the end of it she said, ‘I can’t believe that I’ve been giving away my power all these years,’” Decker says.
It was one of many satisfying moments for Decker and further backed up her belief about a leader’s possibility. “Great communicators are made,” she says. “Not born.” —EB