Organizational leaders live inside the business environment, where things are tempered. There are communications guardrails to operate in during the work day, an expected range of modulation and expression that is all middle-of-the-road, strong and steady. Perceived or real these guardrails help create a steadiness to leadership communication that is valuable to teams and organizations so that those teams and organizations can find a way forward in the ever changing world of work. There is a need to be a calming but forceful presence in the beautiful chaos of distributed teams all working, in their own way toward a goal. But that doesn’t apply when it’s time to step on stage and especially when stakes are hight. The context is different, the expectations are different, so how you communicate can be different. This is the time to not pull punches, be less predictable and not just align but also to have the freedom to inspire.
We all (mostly) want to pull punches. When it’s our turn to talk, there’s a great temptation to keep things just under high impact. Just shy of amazing. Just a click to the side of “whoa!” because it’s the safe thing to do. But punch is what we want from you. A peek into your spirit, a nudge into the impossible and a clear path forward that makes me trust the way forward AND feel fearless in pursuing the future. Part of my job isn’t to make my clients shine, but to make them shine brighter. To not pull punches. To be excellent. And, simple things make you go from informative to compelling in just a few behaviors. Here are three:
Let us see your passion. Show it by raising your voice, just above the tone everyone is used to hearing from you, when you’re sharing something that matters. Voice modulation is the key way we identify what YOU see as important. If you don’t helps us know what that is explicitly with a change of tone, we’re left to either guess or feeling that everything you’re saying is equally important. And when everything is equally important, nothing is important.
Build Presence. Do this by going slowly. When you take your time, you take up space. When you take up space, you build presence. This means speak slowly and intentionally when it matters most- on your key ideas or a turn of phrase that paints a picture for us. Give us your first words after a good luxurious pause. This brings us closer to you. It draws us in and allows for enough space in your talk for us to take what you’re sharing and merry it with our own internal dialogue.
Choose beautiful words. It’s easy and safe to stay in the world of business speak and nomenclature. Even if it’s a shared and common nomenclature, when it’s time to stand on stage to align and inspire, it’s time to use language that does just that. Choose language that cuts right to the heart, language that is bold and emotional and touches us our hearts, not just our rational brains. Do this by keeping the language:
Combine these three simple components and you’ll pull no punches and be more compelling with your freedom to inspire.