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The Leadership Talk: The Most Powerful Leadership Tool Of All (part 3)
Summary: The author asserts that presentations and speeches are the least effective means of leadership communication. There is a much more effective way: the Leadership Talk. In this three part series, he describes underlying principles of the Leadership Talk and ways to help develop and deliver it.
To develop and deliver a great Leadership Talk, you must understand that every Talk has three important parts. (1) Audience Needs. (2) Strong Belief. (3) Action.
(1) Audience needs: The first step in putting together a Leadership Talk is to understand the needs of your audience. As I explained in Part Two, they cannot be ordered to be your cause leaders. Their commitment is one of free choice. They will not make that choice unless they believe that their being your cause leaders will in some way help solve the problems of their (not your) needs.
All needs are problems. All problems are crying out for solutions. When you are helping them with those solutions, you are a long way down the road of motivating them to make the choice to be your cause leaders.
When you answer these questions, you have a good idea what their needs are. (1) What is changing for them? (2) Who would they rather have leading them besides you? (3) What action do they want to take? (4) What do they feel? (5) What do they fear? (6) What's their major problem? (7) What makes them angry? (8) What do they dream?
(2) Strong belief: Knowing your audience's needs is important, but it's only the first step in developing a Leadership Talk. The next step involves strong belief, not just your belief but theirs. Clearly, you must believe in the cause. But your belief is irrelevant. After all, if you didn't believe in the cause, you shouldn't be leading it. The key question is can you transfer your belief to them so that they believe in it as strongly as you do and will commit to becoming your cause leaders?
As I explained in Part Two, you are asking people to take leadership for your cause. Taking leadership is a special undertaking, calling for a special commitment. People will not undertake leadership lightly. It is not your choice for them to take leadership. It is their choice. And to weigh the pros and cons of that choice, they want to know two things: who you are and why you are there.
You must tell them or they will tell you. And if they tell you, you may not like what they say.
As to who you are: In their eyes, who you are involves your knowledge/skills as to meeting the challenges of the cause and your commitment to that cause. If they perceive that you have weak knowledge/skills and/or weak commitment, they'll peg you as unworthy and maybe worse, untrustworthy.
As to you why you are there. There is only one answer to why you are there: They must know that you are there to help them solve the problems of their needs.
Without communicating strong belief on both counts, who you are and why you are there, you cannot give a Leadership Talk to motivate them to be your cause leader.
(3) Action. It's not so much what you say that's important when giving a Leadership Talk, it's what the audience does after you have had your say. The function of The Leadership Talk is to have people take action that gets results -- and more results than simply average results, more results faster, and "more faster" on a continual basis.
Once you begin to see your leadership interactions in terms of physical action, you'll see your leadership, and the way you get results, in fresh ways. Challenge your cause leaders to take physical action by asking them, ‘What three or four leadership actions, PHYSICAL ACTIONS, will you take to achieve the results we need?'
Having people move from simply saying they will do things to actually taking the physical action to do them will dramatically increase
I've been teaching the Leadership Talk to thousands of leaders worldwide during the past 21 years. Many of them have found that the difference between the Leadership Talk and presentations/speeches is the difference between typewriters and wordprocessors. I remember using a typewriter. I was happy using it. I had no idea that I needed a wordprocessor. But when I bought a wordprocessor and went through the trouble of learning how to use it, I saw how badly I had needed it all along. I saw that it was a quantum leap in terms of speed, efficiency, and productivity over a typewriter. So it is with the Leadership Talk and presentations/speeches. Once you go through the trouble of learning how to use Leadership Talks then applying them consistently on a daily basis, you will find they can transform your leadership effectiveness and boost your career in ways presentations and speeches could never do.
Such transformations won't happen immediately. It will take you awhile to learn the processes and be comfortable using them. Since you're not in one of my seminars, where the participants learn tested processes to create and deliver Leadership Talks in a relatively short period of time, you'll have to rely on putting them together piecemeal.
But in these initial stages of developing and delivering Leadership Talks, putting them together piecemeal is an effective way of beating the learning curve. After all, leadership is long and careers are short. You are not learning to give Leadership Talks as a short term endeavor. It should be a career-endeavor. Step by step, be constantly aware of the three triggers, Need, Belief, Action. Speak from and to those triggers. You may discover that giving Leadership Talks consistently is the best thing that ever happened to your career.
2005 © The Filson Leadership Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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