The Visionary Leader
In times of crisis, we prefer Visionary Leaders. Hope is a strong motivator to current action when the situation is difficult.
In the years leading up to 2008, the USA was stuck in two protracted wars, and an economic crisis sparked by the subprime lending collapse. In this context of uncertainty, the big factor that helped to sweep Barrack Obama into the Presidency was that he was seen as an inspiring and visionary leader. His message gave hope for a better future to come.
The Ethos-Based Speech model uses the force of the leader’s personal and professional credibility combined with hope to move an audience to take action. It is a vital tool for effective leaders when facing times of uncertainty and crisis.
Likewise, Ronald Reagan came to power in a time of uncertainty. He was a powerful visionary speaker. His speech after the Challenger space shuttle disaster was a very clear Ethos-Based speech structure and delivery.
Example Ethos-Based Speech: Ronald Reagan’s Challenger address[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEjXjfxoNXM]
The Ethos-Based Speech
The Ethos-Based Speech follows this simple structure:
Starts with a moment in time “4 years ago” or “When we founded this company” or “70 years ago”. Past describes a situation where things were “good”. Past sets a common context. Ronald Reagan’s speech after the Challenger space shuttle disaster begins with a story about what happened 400 years ago – the founding of the USA. This creates a common context and connection for his audience.
Describes today’s reality. Often this is a negative in contrast with the Past. There are challenges. Not everything is rosy. However, the audience needs to see that the leader lives in their world, sees what they see. This clear seeing of today’s real situation establishes credibility. Ronald Reagan’s Challenger speech tells of what he and his wife Nancy saw on TV that morning, how they felt and what it meant. He then speaks to the children, then to the teachers, then to the families of the dead astronauts. He is direct and clear about the real situation and the feelings.
Imagines a better situation in future. “5 years from now, I see a company that is strong…” Outlines what the hard work we need to day will achieve. Connects todays difficulty with a purpose.
I made a short video last week to explain some of the advanced modules we run in IESE for Persuasive Communication skills.