There is a popular quote from Jim Rohn that says the ability to communicate effectively is 20% knowledge and 80% how you feel about that knowledge.
Effective communication under pressure is a fundamental component of quality leadership, and it is learned very early on in the training process to become a Navy SEAL. One must have the ability to maintain their composure and have clarity of mind to take in all the necessary information and make the right leadership decisions. Without this skill, one can’t survive in combat, and one can’t succeed in business.
We can all relate to the experience of having the perfect comeback pop into our heads after a heated verbal exchange has ended; too late for it to be of any use. But there are also those who can stand in the face of all kinds of conflict and pressure and yet always find exactly the right thing to say. Which they do, in a calm and tactful way.
Confronted by a furious customer, an obstinate colleague or a high-stakes negotiation, they show no signs of stuttering or becoming upset. They stay cool and cut through the situation to get the best result, and barely break a sweat doing so. These types of people typically climb the ranks quickly, but they are not born that way. Great communicators are a result of nurture; you simply need the appropriate tools and know-how.
Thinking on your feet for effective communication
When you perform well under intense pressure, you develop trust within your team and give others confidence in your ability not only as a leader but as a source of support and comfort when times get tough. Here are five benefits of calm, quick thinking:
The ability to think on your feet allows you to respond, to some extent, to any question that arises. You may not always have the perfect solutions, but you have the confidence to take ownership of the process of finding them.
Others will trust your words. When you earn their respect, your associates will believe in you. The credibility you gain by communicating well under pressure is extremely valuable.
Others will trust that they can depend on you. When you show strong leadership in critical situations, others will look to you for decision-making.
Others will see you as more self-assured, which breeds respect and trust in equal measure.
Your positive rapport with your colleagues, subordinates and superiors will be enhanced with positive communication.
The more we practice and focus upon communicating under pressure, the better our skills at doing so will become. Concentrate on identifying any areas where you are lacking in communication skills when the pressure mounts, and you can take steps to further develop your leadership aptitude.