It cannot be denied that one of the most significant leaders of the 20th century was Margaret Thatcher. She was the only female British leader to hold UK's highest political office, prime minister. Her magnitude as an effective leader was not only admired by many of her people but was also respected by her foes; so much so a Soviet Red Army newspaper dubbed her, The Iron Lady. True enough, Margaret Thatcher deserved to be called such, for her governance was characterized by strong-willed leadership and uncompromising decision-making.
Margaret Thatcher was not only known as a great leader but as a persuasive speaker as well. Thanks to a commitment to disciplined communication skills training, she was able to attain great heights.
Great Communicators Are Not Made; They Are Developed
Contrary to popular belief, Margaret Thatcher was not a born leader and communicator. Everything that she achieved was the product of hard work and dedication. One of her greatest weaknesses as a speaker was her voice. She had a very high-pitch tone that made her sound non-assertive. She knew that she had to improve her communication skills if she wanted to be respected and acknowledged in the male-dominated British Parliament. That is why she attended public speaking classes, aimed to help her lower her vocal pitch among other things. After extensive vocal and speech delivery training, her voice and presence dramatically improved. Her newly minted charisma was more convincing, professional, and precise. Her new found aura helped her gain the respect of colleagues and the broader community. With a more assertive manner, Margaret Thatcher was able to deliver powerful speeches that helped propel Britain to economic growth and prosperity.
Communication Tips from The Iron Lady
Thatcher’s presentation approach is a method that all leaders, business professionals, and speakers can learn from. Here are some valuable tips that an aspiring speaker/leader can take from The Iron Lady.
Be Professional in Your Appearance
If you want to be taken seriously, then you need to know how to dress the part. Your appearance says a lot about who you are; your confidence, capability, and even values. “The Lady”, herself, had to augment her appearance to be respected by her colleagues and people.
Always Aim for Improvement
Margaret Thatcher became such an effective communicator because she worked hard to improve this skill. Knowing that her voice was one of the most powerful skills for effective communication, she hired a vocal coach to help her lower her pitch. Identifying your weaknesses and adopting a plan to improve them will surely make you a more commanding communicator.
Fill Your Speech With Emotion
Margaret Thatcher was effective at public speaking because she knew that emotions are more powerful than facts. She knew that padding her speeches with emotional stories and anecdotes was the most effective way to connect with an audience. And by bonding with her audience, she was able to influence them more profoundly.
No matter how well you speak, it still pays off to approach the stage prepared. Thatcher knew this well. That is why she made sure that all her presentations were well researched and the facts accurate. Aside from that, she devoted a good portion of her time to rehearsal. Being on stage prepared will help you avoid the mistakes befall so many would-be leaders.
Just like Margaret Thatcher, you can become an effective communicator too. By following the footsteps of The Iron Lady and by pursing the right communication training courses, you'll become an effective speaker capable of influencing lives and initiating positive change.