SUCCESSFUL leadership begins with effective communication. The success of your professional life depends on your ability to articulate your ideas, goals, personality and instructions confidently.

While strong leadership is fundamental to business success, an organisation can only succeed when the vision is clearly articulated to employees at every level.

This is made possible through developing a clear understanding of the direction of the business and influencing others to do what is required to achieve these goals.

People do not follow others by accident. An irrefutable law of leadership is that people follow individuals whose leadership they respect.

When leaders have influence, people begin to follow them. When they inspire respect, people keep following them.

How do you communicate effectively to lead and inspire? Here are some useful pointers:

1. Communicate in your audience's style

A fundamental lesson in effective communication is that it is not your style that matters it is your audience's. The effective communicator does not impose his personality on the audience.

Just like Japanese martial art Aikido, it is important to blend with the motion of the attacker, rather than oppose the attack directly. Rather than coerce someone into agreeing with you, Aikido says take people from where they are to where you want them to be.

Thus, to be an effective communicator, you have to size up the audience whom you are addressing to gain traction for your message. The more accurately you can understand what they want, the more successfully you can influence and motivate them.

Communication is essentially relationship building. It is essential to be aware of others' needs and provide the assurance that they need, when they need it.

The art of making those you lead feel good, even when breaking difficult news to them, is truly a skill to be perfected.

2. Keep it simple

Purposeful communication often requires a rigorous thought process and a distillation of information.

The ability to explain complex issues in simple terms is a skill. By communicating in a simple manner, people appreciate your clarity of thought and are able to work better with you to achieve your team's objectives.

You can hone your communication skills by translating important business objectives into simple terms. Try obtaining feedback from a second reviewer or visualising yourself as the receiver of the message.

Another useful tip is to end speeches with a specific call to action. You immediately convey to the audience the importance of your message and how they can put it into practice in everyday life. Remember, your audience has a limited attention span, so communicate strategically with a distinct message.

3. Build up a strong vocabulary

Research studies have shown that a strong vocabulary is the most noticeable performance characteristic shared by successful professionals.

A poor vocabulary is a barrier to effective communication. As language is a symbolic representation of an event, there is room for interpretation and probability for distortion.

The choice of words or language in which a sender encodes a message will influence the quality of communication. A robust vocabulary is essential to help you convey what you truly mean.

Gain respect

The key to inspirational leadership is the ability to influence others and gain their respect.

The stronger the relationship and connection between individuals, the more likely the follower will want to help the leader.

Effective communication delivers tangible results. Some of the areas in which effective communication will positively impact the bottom line include customer satisfaction, service delivery, product quality, employee satisfaction and retention of key talent.

Managers must face squarely the challenge of setting an example themselves and formulate strategies to encourage effective communication between all levels of staff. A company pays a high price for poor communication low productivity, poor morale and high turnover if this is not done.