Where It All Begins: Your Listeners

You can’t pass go, you can’t collect $200 (let alone $20,000 or $200,000 for your next initiative) if you haven’t gone through the first step:

That’s right. Rephrase your agenda to meet theirs, instead.

Since our goal is to influence others and to persuade them to take action, we can’t talk all about ourselves.

We must step back and ask ourselves some key questions about the audience. This is a critical first step in the process even – or especially – if you know your listener(s) well – for example, your team, your boss, or a key client. While you may have worked with them for years, and understand how they think about and approach a situation, that doesn’t mean that their same opinions, thoughts, and goals translate directly to another subject.

What should you say?

All depends on who’s listening.

 

Crisis Communication: Power of Your Voice

While I was driving to work, I was listening to the morning news on the radio. During a report about the latest Ebola outbreak, I was shocked to hear a voice of calm – it was a doctor and scientist with great bedside manner. Check out the audio from this … Continue reading

A PowerPoint Paradigm Shift

Ever get into the rut of doing what you’ve always done because it’s comfortable – or because it’s the way it’s always been done? I’m talking about presentations – specifically the ones where you use PowerPoint. We were reminded of this when a client recently shared that he led a … Continue reading

Coordinating Schedules? You Can Do Better.

Ever have the experience where you get an email asking if you and another colleague are willing to talk, huddle, brainstorm or follow up on a new initiative? Contrast these two examples: “Can you meet for 30 minutes on Thursday between 9-11am to discuss the new initiative? If not, give … Continue reading

Upspeak: Destroyer of Credibility

Invisible question marks – ending sentences on a higher pitch is a plague that has seeped from middle school girls into our business communications. Maybe even to yours. Taylor Mali’s Def Poetry Jam explains: I’ve witnessed upspeak at the highest levels of Fortune 100 companies, and I’ve heard it used … Continue reading

Stop Compartmentalizing: Find a Story to Tell

Last week I was working with an executive, and he got flustered. “I can’t think of a story,” he said. I told him, “Just think about it – the stories will come to you.” And sure enough, they did. Why were we looking for stories? Not just because it’s trendy … Continue reading

A Real MVP

Before this week, I only knew Kevin Durant as a prolific NBA scorer and a star from the movie Thunderstruck (a family movie that my boys love). After watching his MVP speech, I now feel differently. You may or may not know (or like) Kevin Durant, but your attitude will … Continue reading

Commencement Speech: How to Rock It

As April showers make way for May flowers, graduates prepare to turn their tassels and toss their hats in the air. But what happens first? The commencement speeches, of course! For the grad, leader or educator preparing for a commencement speech, I bring you a special “how to” guide for … Continue reading

Establishing Executive Presence

The phrase “executive presence” is not new, but it’s gaining traction. I heard it referenced in seven meetings with executives from seven different companies last week, alone. What does it mean? It’s a way to describe confidence. Not to be confused with arrogance, demonstrating executive presence means showing that we … Continue reading

Literally – Just a Filler Word

If there were Survivor for words, I’d vote off “literally.” It’s inserted into sentences for no real reason. Consider: I am literally the hungriest person in the world right now. I am literally going to break this printer in a minute. The coffee machine is literally the slowest thing on … Continue reading