Leadership Blog

Nov 6, 2023

Your Leadership Link by Cullen S. Gibson, Vice President


Communication and Connection

One of the most important leadership skills you can hone is effective communication. Ronald Reagan’s impact as a public speaker earned him the moniker, “The Great Communicator.” President Reagan educated and connected with his audience and brought his ideas to life.  In fact, Reagan said, “I wasn’t a great communicator, but I communicated great things.”

Below are some communication styles that have my own descriptors. 

Checked In – Checked Out

This communicator satisfies their human need of “they saw me, I said hello, and I told them to have a good day.” They checked in. They checked out. They speak without really investing in the listener.  This person is most often very friendly, seems to empathize, but soon checks out because longer conversations may lead to real investment and subsequent problem-solving.

Communication and ConnectionCheck Me Out

This person pontificates. They want you to know they are in charge. Most listeners would not dare speak up, ask a question or disagree with this communicator. This person is a good conversationalist, often has great ideas, but at the end of the day they really like to listen to their own story. In fact, by the time this check me out communicator is finished, there isn’t any time for engagement and they simply rush on to the next thing and leave the audience to  say, “what was that all about.”

Checked In

This person communicates in order to get in step with what is going on with the listener and ultimately the organization. They create a motivating culture that produces good behaviors which in turn produces good results. Their speech models competency wrapped in empathy. Reagan said that it was his empathy with the American people that made him an effective communicator. They use their story to encourage others. They are sincere, considerate, and approachable. They are real.


As leaders, we should approach communication with three (3) questions:

  • What do I want my audience to know?
  • What do I want them to feel?
  • What do I want them to do?

At the end of the day, your communication style creates an emotion that leads your listeners into an action.

Enjoy this day!