“Good communication is just as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”
–Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American writer and aviator
We can all remember being influenced by a truly inspiring speaker. Whether it was a former professor, mentor, colleague, or friend—we all know someone who emboldened us to dream and take action.
So, what is that secret sauce to being an inspiring leader? Is it something you’re naturally born with or is it a quality that can be learned?
New York Times' bestselling author, Jeff Selingo, answers these questions and more in Episode 16 of Think Deeply, Speak Simply—Inspirational Communication. He reveals how COVID-19 has forced us all to pivot and adapt to non-traditional forms of communication no matter what industry we find ourselves in.
Here are Jeff's favorite strategies for effectively leveraging communication to inspire others.
Simplicity always wins
We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: keep your communication as simple as possible.
This recommendation has Jeff’s golden seal of approval, too! In fact, he recommends eliminating any convoluted jargon from your business presentations altogether.
And remember—just because you’re giving a business presentation doesn’t mean you should only speak in business terms. Instead, behave as if you’re addressing a fifth-grade audience. Use simple, easy-to-follow phrases that are familiar to everyone. Distill complex information into digestible content that is understandable to a broader audience. Don’t use complicated, technical language just to sound smarter. Instead, be the glue that bridges the gap between a person’s lack of understanding and that big “Aha!” moment.
Be a storyteller
As human beings, we love to listen to stories. They’re engaging, evoke emotion, and inspire audience members to take action when leveraged correctly. They bring your core message to life and are great tools for establishing trust and rapport with your audience. In other words, storytelling is essential for being an inspirational leader.
Like any great storyteller, your business presentation needs a story arc. To be persuasive, identify the story signposts of your speech. Consider what factors are most important for determining how you’ll convince someone to follow your strategy or invest in your business. Use these road markers to help structure your presentation. This will help orient your audience and keep the progression of your story linear. With you gently guiding listeners along, this will ensure they never feel lost or abandoned throughout your presentation.