Communicating with influence is critical. Communicating for change is essential. Communicating to see transformation is sublime. Leaders must learn to speak with conviction so that they can we lead with influence, which is the price of entry for leadership. Leaders have to learn to be able to communicate their ideas, obsessions, value propositions and points of difference in a way that meets people where they are at and moves them to where they need to be. Leaders need to be able to navigate the delicate balance between the mission you share, the realities of life and the steps required to make progress.
Speech Writer James C Humes said it this way. “The art of communication is the language of leadership.” We are to paint pictures, move hearts and mobilise people. That’s LeaderSpeak!
To develop in leadership you need to develop in speakership (as my friend Matt Church calls it). With the noise in the world right now, becoming the kind of storyteller and connector that makes the big picture compelling and the small steps doable, is an art form for leaders. These five obsessions will help you bridge that gap.
The people I speak to are more important than the topic I’m speaking about.
This is all about motive.
When you speak, is it about what you want FOR people? What do, or what you want FROM people? The BIG shift occurs in LeaderSpeak when your energy moves from you and what’s happening in your world, to them and how they are experiencing the conversation. Recently I was speaking and the energy in the room dropped quickly so I introduced a quick activity to break the state and lift the energy. It moved the room up and we were able to move to forward with the presentation. LeaderSpeak holds the conviction that WHO we speak to matters so so so much more than WHAT we are talking about. There is no shortage of content in the world. It doubles online in months and making meaning matters more than sharing content.
Leaders who speak know their content. What they obsess about even more is knowing people.
I won’t move anyone if I am not moved myself.
This is about conviction.
In the speaking and communication world there is a mantra that goes “the energy in the room is the energy of the speaker.” In the Church world they say ‘fog in the pulpit is clouds in the congregation.” Either way what you are standing up to share needs to have first moved YOU. It needs to have connected with you in a deeper way than information, facts, and data.
Taking the time to think, meditate, pray, whatever is required to get to the deep level of connection to your message is critical. It’s most recently attributed to House MD in an episode where he said “If you can fake sincerity you can pretty much fake anything.” Not so with communication. At some point the lack of connectedness between the message and the messenger will become evident.
If your message hasn’t moved you it definitely won’t move others.
The big picture must make sense to my immediate context.
This is about relevance.
There is no shortage of information in the world. A thought leaders community I’m part of taught me that MEANING makes more of a difference than information. When we can show the steps between the information being presented and the world our listeners are living in, it shows a significant amount of work has been done by you, the speaker, before you speak. In her book Relevance: Matter More, Marian Deegan said “Any master skill in practice is about comprehending myriad elements and fitting them together in inspired ways that satisfy the objective.”
This is what LeaderSpeak does – it puts together the puzzle pieces so we can both see the whole and see our place in it.
I want you to find yourself in our story.
This is about ownership.
Movies create a world of fantasy that for a moment in time we can place ourselves in and escape. We project ourselves into story because it creates a preferred environment for us. A picture of what is possible. LeaderSpeak is about having the ability to help people find themselves in a much bigger story, name it and claim it then take full responsibility for applying that to their life (see point five).
Simon Sinek reminds us that fighter pilots painted their own name just beneath the canopy of their aircraft to demonstrate and display this sense of ownership. When you go public on the part you plan to play, you step into a world of possibility and conviction that, as a leader, you and I dream of taking people to.
I don’t speak for information I speak for transformation.
This is about application.
In the local Church I lead we have (tongue in cheek) created a couple of extra commandments. Our eleventh commandment is ‘Resource Thyself” and our twelfth is “We don’t meet for information we meet for transformation” – We meet to connect, we meet to learn, we met to encourage, we meet to be productive and fruitful AND we meet for deep, personal and collective transformation.
There is no shortage of information in the world today. There is however, a shortage of people willing to lead the current and the next generation into making sense of what they know. The skill is in learning to craft simple yet powerful conclusions and summaries for your listeners so they can do what they know.
What do you want them to know? What do you want them to do? How would you encourage them to put this into practice as soon as practically possible? What difference will it make to them, their family, their community, their city and the world? Learning LeaderSpeak means learning to shift people from where they are to where they need to be.
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