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Topic 4, Lesson 1
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Dan Wells October 17, 2023
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Communication is considered to be one of the most important soft skills.

The following video is an extract from a workshop delivered by experienced CFO and professional mentor Catherine Clark, providing valuable insights regarding communication:

In a CFO role, you have a big responsibility to look after the financials of your business and its core financial stability.

Without a doubt, people and employees look to the CFO for reassurance and guidance so that they feel safe.  You need to show them that the business is being looked after, that the financials are safe and that their jobs are safe.

Being open and transparent is essential, especially during times when companies are experiencing challenges.  Communication, openness and transparency will earn respect and will allow people to understand what is happening.

Communication comes in different forms – how you show up, your gravitas and how you can adjust your tone and style of speaking to an audience.  This will help you to encourage them to do something, reassure them or persuade them to do something differently.

Looking calm and in control is also important.  You will often need to explain some very complex matters and simplify them down to colleagues and clients.  You need to recognise that not everybody has the same level of knowledge and understanding.

This also applies in a Board room.  It is about staying calm and in control, which allows your rational mind to work.  The moment you panic enters you into a flight or fight mode, which takes away your ability to stay rational and calm.  Anything that you can do to keep yourself calm is really important.  For example, taking opportunities to catch your breathe, go for a walk and calm down is incredibly important in your role to keep your brain thinking clearly.


Listening is another essential component of communication as people need to be heard – this is almost a basic human need.

Leaders need to learn to listen properly, in addition to providing information. 

A leadership style based upon collaboration requires you to hear what other people are saying and to enable them to be part of the discussion. And of course, listening is learning.

Assess your skills

  1. How good are you at communicating a message to an individual?
  2. Do you feel comfortable communicating to a group of people?
  3. Have you ever felt any anxiety in the Board room that may impact on your behaviour?
  4. Do you listen to people properly and make them feel heard?