4 Great Posts on Communication and Leadership

How to Give a Killer Presentation

Chris Anderson, Owner of TED
Presentations rise or fall on the quality of the idea, the narrative, and the passion of the speaker. It’s about substance, not speaking style or multimedia pyrotechnics. It’s fairly easy to “coach out” the problems in a talk, but there’s no way to “coach in” the basic story—the presenter has to have the raw material. If you have something to say, you can build a great talk. But if the central theme isn’t there, you’re better off not speaking. Decline the invitation. Go back to work, and wait until you have a compelling idea that’s really worth sharing.  Read More

 

The Inconvienient Truth about Change Management –

McKinsey & Company
Conventional change management approaches have done little to change the fact that most change  programs fail. The odds can be greatly improved by a number of counterintuitive insights that take into account the irrational but predictable nature of how employees interpret their environment and choose to act.  Read More

 

11 Simple Concepts to Become a Better Leader

Dave Kerpen
All 11 concepts are simple, and yet, perhaps in the name of revenues or the bottom line, we often lose sight of the simple things – things that not only make us human, but can actually help us become more successful. Read More

 

5 Models for Leading Change

Tristan Wember
In this article we introduce five models for leading change. No single model isright. However, they all have something valuable on offer and can help us to navigate our way through complex organisational situations or circumstances.  Read More

IESE Advanced Visionary (Ethos) Communication Module

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

The Ethos-Based Speech

The Ethos-Based Speech follows this simple structure:

Past

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.

Present

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.

Future

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.

This video explains the IESE Visionary Communication Module

Original Post

IESE Webinar [Video]: Develop Your Communication Skills

The Webinar:

This is the recording of the IESE Develop Your Communication Skills webinar we ran on 13th April 2013.  It is here on the IESE Business School YouTube channel.

Storify Summary of the Webinar via Twitter Hashtag: #iesewebinar

Resources cited in the Webinar:

How to get Attention: The 7 Triggers of Fascination

Fascinating? Photo Credit: Angel~Lily

When I step on stage to speak, I get 8 seconds before the listener decides how to categorize me:

  1. worth attention, or
  2. time to check my mobile email

What are your first words?

When I meet someone at a conference, a party, an event…  again – we have 8 seconds.  Catch attention, or the other person is starting to scan the room for a more interesting conversation partner and beginning to plan her escape: “oh I must get a new drink”, “Is the toilet over there?”, “Oh I must say hello to Anna”…

In those 8 seconds, your whole life is judged on the power of your first words.  What are they?  There are 7 billion humans…  how do you stand out as different?  (you are different… but how to sum up a whole life in several words?)…

So often a speaker begins with:

  • “Hi”
  • “Good morning”
  • “What’s up?”

How does that help differentiate from 3 billion?

In-different = Boring

What does stop us for a moment?  What delays the escape routine of the listener?

There are 7 triggers of fascination.  Brands, people, even you use these triggers every day.  You have one that is your “primary” trigger.  What is your “primary” trigger?

  1. Power – Take command of the environment
  2. Pasion – Attract with emotion, irrational, irresistible charm
  3. Mystique – Arousing curiosity
  4. Prestige – Increase respect, aspiration
  5. Alarm – Driving urgency
  6. Vice – Creativity, Deviation from the norm, See things differently
  7. Trust – Connection through consistency and predictability

Sally Hogshead explains the 7 triggers in her TEDx talk:

What do you think?

7 Typical Challenges of Weak Communicators

7 Challenges of Weak Communciators

These are 7 challenges that can be overcome if you take the time to improve your communication skills.  Some have very quick fixes, others require considerable practice to turn into strengths.

  1. I lose people’s attention easily
  2. People agree, but then do nothing
  3. People avoid my phone calls (… at least I think so!)
  4. People avoid giving me feedback (or only “sugarcoated”)
  5. I have difficulty listening to others
  6. People never agree with me
  7. People “hijack” my meetings, my presentations, my conversation

Resources

What are your Communications Challenges?

Audience Analysis

Teaching in IESE

The purpose of giving a speech is to give the audience something valuable to them.

If I open most of the books on communicating well that I have on my bookshelf, they will tell me that step one is to know my audience.  How do we achieve this?

How to do Audience Analysis

First, you must know who the audience are and what they need:

What does it take to know my audience?

  • Demographics“Who am I speaking to?”  What is the age and gender of your audience? Education level? What does your audience value? What are their interests? Are you addressing a specific group of people?  Can you be more specific about the group you’ve selected? For example, rather than all business people, should you focus on entrepreneurs? Rather than all entrepreneurs, should you focus on internet entrepreneurs?
  • Context“What do they care about?”  What does your audience know about the topic? How much background will they need in order to understand your topic? Do you need to explain jargon or define terms? Does your audience have a bias about the topic that you will need to address? For example, are you presenting ? If so, keep in mind the audience’s probable biases. Could your audience have any other assumptions about the topic?

Advanced Audience Analysis

  • Identify the group within the group – Who really takes the decisions here?  There is always an “interpretive community” – a smaller group that the rest look to as opinion setters, as decision makers. If they move to action, the rest of the audience will move to action.
  • Understand their Discourse Conventions – Discourse Conventions are shorthand language what is assumed by the audience as a group? In my MBA classes, I can say “we conduct an ABP process” and the group of MBAs knows exactly what I mean, and they know that I am part of their inner group.  Use of this “insider” language creates a stronger connection, but at risk of alienating any “outsiders” present.

How to Prepare your Communication

Adult conversation is about leaving behind what I want to say, and beginning to communicate what they need to hear. This is a challenge. This involves good control of your emotional state. When I complain, I want to speak about how angry I am, how let down I feel. What the audience needs to hear is what they can do, what specifically happened, what we can learn.

  1. “How does my material relate to a challenge, opportunity or need in their lives?”  (W.I.I.F.M.)
  2. “When I am finished speaking, my audience will ___[insert ACTION]__”? (The Point X)
  3. “What do I want them to know, believe, and feel in order to take action #2?”
  4. “What do they already know, believe and feel about the subject?”

Adapting your Speech

  • Develop a way to bond with the audience from the very beginning. “10 years ago I was sat where you are sat today” “I am not a Toastmaster, but I have many friends who are Toastmasters and they told me that the 3 most important things for a Toastmaster audience are…”
  • Target a particular audience group Determine the specific group in the audience will most benefit from your message and speak directly to them.
  • Talk to your audience, not at them. Although not everyone can be specifically targeted, if the speech is presented with the audience in mind, they will feel a more personal connection and be more likely to remember the presentation.
  • Change your vocabulary. If your audience has little knowledge of your topic, define basic terms for them to understand. If your audience is well versed in the topic, feel free to go in depth with the issue and skip the definitions. The first group will not feel bombarded with information, and the latter will not feel that the topic has been oversimplified.
  • Make enough physical adjustments to suit the audience. This can be anything from changing where you stand to ensure the best visibility, speaking loudly and clearly for those sitting far in the back, and making sure that your visual aids are clear and effective for all.

Any Questions? Ideas? Reflections? Success Stories?

[Slideshare] Presenting as Yourself

Chiara Ojeda

Chiara Ojeda who writes the Tweak Your Slides blog has recently posted a new set of visuals called Presenting As Yourself. It has powerful visuals. It provides great reminders of the important aspects of communicating with impact; communicating in a way that engages the audience and lets your message stick.

Presenting As Yourself

What are your favourite books, blogs, youtube videos, general resources on presentation delivery?

Eliminate the Unnecessary

“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” Pablo Picasso

Teaching in IESE Madrid

I finished a wonderful 3 day seminar this week in Madrid with 30 directors ranging from industries as diverse as agriculture, to mobile handset makers, to pharmaceuticals to drinks. The course began on Tuesday morning at 9am as the participants introduced themselves, their challenges and their objectives for the course.

I listened and what struck me is how they were able to say so little in so many words. The spanish do have a tendency to start their mouth talking, and then engage their brain. They are not alone in this tendency. The world over, un-practiced communicators speak a lot of noise before they find the meaning.

Eliminate the Unnecessary

It is not only art that benefits from the elimination of the unnecessary. Those that speak powerfully say what they need to say and no more. Their is little filler in their communication. Their voices use no ehem, ahh, hmm, uhh noises.

Great poets cram massive meaning in few words. It takes more work to say it well in 10 seconds than in 30, more work to say it well in 3 minutes than in 10 minutes, more work to say it well in 10 minutes than in 3 hours. I don’t want to be lazy in my meaning. If I can say it in 30 seconds then I want to say it in 30 seconds. I have been working on videos in my youtube channel – working to squeeze 20 minute sections of my course into 2 minute videos. If I can say it well in 2 minutes, I know that I can say it powerfully in 20.

At the end of the course, the participants again shared their experiences with the group. It was a great source of pride to me as I saw the efficiency with which they used words. They spoke powerfully, they spoke with emotion, they spoke using silence when silence was more powerful than any word, and they spoke from the heart.

It takes a lot of complex thinking to achieve simple speaking. It takes many hours of reflection alone with oneself to understand our emotions, and the stories that generate our meaning in relation to what happens to us. Great communication is a mirror of the inner state. If my inner state is confused, my confusion will shine through my speech. If my inner state is self-doubt, my self-doubt will shine through my speech. If my inner state is tired, apathetic and unloved, my apathy will shine through.

Learning to communicate well can not be achieve merely through an outward journey, a learning of tools. There is a need for an inner journey, to understand myself. Few achieve success as actors. The rest of us need to real feel passion inside to project passion to an audience. We can’t fake it for very long.

TED Education: What could Joshua Bell do?

This post is a follow up to the TED-Education post yesterday: What Aristotle and Joshua Bell teach us about Persuasion.  If you haven’t already watched the lesson, you’ll need to as background to the material in this post.  You can watch it here on TED Education.

TED Education: What Aristotle and Joshua Bell teach us about Persuasion

What could Joshua Bell do to get his music heard in the subway?

What could you do to improve the chance that someone listens to your ideas? How do you work on the Logos, Ethos and Pathos of your ideas that you will to share?

My answer is available in the 1:20 audio clip here on the blog:

What do you think?

How do you work on the Logos, Ethos and Pathos of your ideas?  Comments welcome here.

The original lesson is available at TED Education.

TED Education: What Aristotle and Joshua Bell can teach us about persuasion

I wrote “Give a TED talk” on my bucket list 4 years ago, today I feel happy to see the idea come to fruition. It is not a TED Talk per-se, i.e. it is not up there on a stage, but in my mind almost better – a lesson from my class, and a concept that is very important today. We are increasingly overloaded with information, but need to be more and more careful how we trust this information. We want to connect to the meaning behind the information. As the lesson says “Ethos and Pathos are missing”…

What Aristotle and Joshua Bell can teach us about Persuasion

Imagine you are one of the world’s greatest violin players, and you decide to conduct an experiment: play inside a subway station and see if anyone stops to appreciate when you are stripped of a concert hall and name recognition. Joshua Bell did this, and Conor Neill channels Aristotle to understand why the context mattered.

Lesson by Conor Neill, animation by Animationhaus.

View the full lesson, additional resources and the quick quiz on the TED Education website: here

Joshua Bell, “Poet of the Violin”

Often referred to as the “poet of the violin,” Joshua Bell is one of the world’s most celebrated violinists. He continues to enchant audiences with his breathtaking virtuosity, tone of sheer beauty, and charismatic stage presence.

Aristotle

Aristotle (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher ofAlexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics,government, ethics, biology, and zoology. Together with Plato and Socrates (Plato’s teacher), Aristotle is one of the most important founding figures in Western philosophy. Aristotle’s writings were the first to create a comprehensive system of Western philosophy, encompassing morality, aesthetics,logic, science, politics, and metaphysics.

Aristotle’s Rhetoric is an ancient Greek treatise on the art of persuasion, dating from the 4th century BC. The English title varies: typically it is titled Rhetoric, the Art of Rhetoric, or a Treatise on Rhetoric.