Skip to main content
Due to maintenance, some parts of the ACEVO website won’t be available on Wednesday 27 March, from 7–9am.
For urgent requests please email

Five tips to communicate well as a leader

By Zaiba Malik, Coppergate Communications

I’ll start with a quote from a Greek philosopher: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”  Though what Epictetus stated centuries ago still holds much validity, there is a time and a place to really focus on talking. The ability to communicate well is certainly a key requirement for any leader but as the challenges charities face escalates, so does the need for solid communication skills.

Whether motivating your staff at a town hall, speaking to a journalist, or delivering a presentation at a conference, there are some common factors to consider to ensure a successful engagement.

1. Preparation is not a luxury – it’s a necessity. Of course, you may think you know everything about your charity – why wouldn’t you? But nobody wants to hear every detail. You need succinct and impactful key messages that tell the audience vital information they will remember.

2. Think about your audience and tailor your content so it’s relevant to them. Why should they be interested to hear you speak? What are you trying to convey to them?

3. Help the listener travel with you; give them a structure – a start, middle and end.

4. It’s not just words we hear – we watch how you say them. Performance is just as important as content. Take your time with your delivery – pauses give the audience to catch up with what you’re saying. Don’t try and emulate those TED Speakers you’ve analysed forensically – just be you.

5. Be ready for challenging audience or journalist questions. Think about the top five most difficult questions you might be asked and prepare viable responses to them. There’s no need to be caught off-guard if you’ve spent time considering these.

Believe it or not, even though public speaking is a thing of nightmares for many, it is possible to get to a place where you can actually make very good use of that one mouth Epictetus referred to.

If you would like to discuss media and presentation training, please contact Coppergate Communications, a consultancy that specialises in coaching and reputation, issues and crisis management.

Share this

Not an ACEVO member?

If you have any queries please email
or call 020 7014 4600.

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. Privacy & cookie policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.