If you know you need to improve a few communication habits, such as speaking more intentionally or using fewer “ums” in your speech, one of the best things you can do (aside from hiring a personal coach) is to learn from a few role models. Role models can help you achieve your personal communication development goals for the following three reasons:
1. Role models haven’t become leaders overnight. They have a story. Their story can help inspire you. Most leaders have biographies or articles devoted to how they got to where they are. If your role model is not famous, you can probably meet in person and ask about his/her story.
2. Role models are often scrutinized (and criticized) in public. You can learn from their mistakes. You can watch how they deal with criticism and copy what they do well (and ignore what they do badly).
3. Role models are proof that your desired skills are attainable. Role models are human. If they can speak without ums or answer difficult questions without looking uncomfortable, you can too. Your role model does not need to have all the skills you hope to improve. Look at a specific skill set and copy these for yourself.
In our next post, we will discuss how to choose great role models and how to effectively learn from them.