Posts tagged impact
Learn to Tell a Great Story

In my work as a professional speaker, I seek to weave in stories whenever possible. The reason is simple. Unlike dry, technical information, stories deliver messages direct to the heart. They deliver immediate understanding and are remembered much longer than other information.

When I use words like, “Let me tell you a story,” the audience always becomes more alert and attentive. It’s like they’re thinking, “Okay, here comes the really good stuff.”

Good stories have a power all their own. They can make complex issues understandable. They can give people a sense of community. They can call people to action in ways they never imagined.

Storytelling is not just an important skill for speakers. Now more than ever, great leaders are great storytellers. Storytelling helps executives weave rich narratives that inspire their organizations, set a vision, teach important lessons, and define the culture and values. Perhaps most importantly, stories explain who you are, how you got here, and what you believe most deeply about your work and about each other.

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Become a Leader of Influence

At the heart of great leadership is influence, as in the ability to influence others to do what needs to get done.

In a piece written for Forbes, Kevin Kruse defines leadership as “a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.” I like his approach because it factors in some important primary leadership elements: (social) influence, others, effort optimization and goals.

Leadership is about influencing others, rather than demanding and coercing. It speaks to the ability to win people over to a new way of thinking and practice, through idea sharing, collaboration and role modeling. It emphasizes persuasion and motivation over coercion.

Influence occurs primarily through emotional connections, such as when we share triumphant or challenging times together. It also develops when leaders routinely demonstrate feelings of appreciation, care, concern, and empathy.

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The 3 I's of effective leadership

For leaders, the letter “I” represents three key elements in their ultimate success. These elements build from the inside out, starting with one’s core identity and purpose and extending far beyond self. They remind us of what we can do and become when we solidify our core and make others’ success our focus.

They are: (1) integrity, (2) influence and (3) impact.

  • Integrity helps us become the best versions of ourselves and communicates what we stand for.

  • Influence allows us to direct and augment the work of others.

  • Impact is all about results. We create impact when we achieve our goals.  

These three do not exist in a vacuum. In fact, they lead one into the next.

When we’re in integrity (A), we become more influential (B). This, in turn, drives results, magnifying our impact (C).

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What’s Your One Sentence?

In his bestselling book Drive (pp. 154-155), author Dank Pink references a conversation between Congresswoman Claire Boothe Luce and President John F. Kennedy. Sensing that the president had too many competing agendas, she sought to focus him by asking him to think about his “one sentence”.

Each great person, she said, has a single sentence that describes him/her. For Abrhama Lincoln, she said, it was “He preserved the union and freed the slaves”. In the case of FDR, a fitting single sentence would be, “He lifted us up from the Great Depression and helped us win a world war”. Because of his competing agendas, Luce felt that Kennedy’s one sentence would instead become an overly muddled paragraph.

We all can have single sentences that describe us, even if our contributions are not as deep and lasting as the aforementioned presidents. Whether they say something about us as individuals, as leaders or as community contributors, having the ability to construct a single sentence that captures our essence can serve as a great guidepost and motivator.

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