You have ONE job as a leader… Paint a picture of the future and convince people to go there. Easier said than done, I assure you.
A leader is only as strong as their ability to communicate the vision. The disconnect of communication typically happens between the heart and the head. Leaders tend to let thoughts fly so fast between their head and their heart that they don’t take time to slow them down and allow those thoughts to turn into words, and escape the never-ending pinball track of the leader through the mouth. Communication is a craft, and yes, I do believe it is a calling. The secret to speaking doesn’t start with the platform, it starts with the preparation.
Mind Mapping, a process invented by Tony Buzan, is the process of engaging your right and left brain at the same time. It’s a way to get what’s in your head out and onto paper. Seeing your “thoughts” on a piece of paper can be a fresh perspective on your topic. While mind mapping gets very, very complex, with colors and shapes, and arrows vs. dashes, etc… I simply use it to put my thoughts on the topic in the same place, and then find the places where they can connect. Visualizing the vision helps you as a speaker make sure you know where you are going while you are speaking. It also gets rid of that horrible feeling of finishing your talk and when you sit down you go, “OH man!!! I didn’t say …”
Emotions are a good thing. Emotions are a God thing. God created us to feel, and care, and respond to the environments and situations around us. While I’m a firm believer that we shouldn’t guilt trip people into a specific feeling, I do believe the Holy Spirit will anoint words to help people not only understand the big picture, but feel it as well. People are full of emotions. Their emotions are locked up within their lack of understanding, their previous experiences, or false expectations. Our role is to unlock that box so their emotions can aide in the process of connecting them to a greater conversation, the conversation of vision. Using different elements can aide in this unlocking process. While this isn’t a formula for the ultimate tear jerker, sometimes these elements can really add to the point you are trying to convey.
Most people spend too much thinking about “what they are going to say” instead of “how they want their audience to feel”. When your heart and spirit are full, your mouth will say exactly what needs to be said. Laughs aren’t your goal. Applause isn’t your goal. Tweets and mentions aren’t your goal. A connection with people is the ultimate currency of value.
My mother, who is a brilliant speaker herself, trains all of our speakers for @DiscoveryCamp to always have a “1SS”. A “1SS” is a one-sentence summary of what you want people to know. It’s a great exercise that helps you narrow down your entire message to a one-point subject that really matters. Over the years I turned her one-sentence summary into my “one-point punch” (It wasn’t violent enough for me as a guy:)) The one-point punch is something you’re going to keep hitting over and over. A brilliant lighting designer friend of mine creates some of the greatest shows out there for people like Kings of Leon, Taylor Swift, and some of the top award shows in the country. When I asked him what his formula for a great show was he responded with, “A high school fist fight.” Perplexed by his answer, I laughed and asked for greater understanding. “High School fist fights always ends up with one kid who just keeps hitting the other over and over and over and over, until it’s over… Lighting is the same way, and I’m the kid who always wins.” While it’s a very true, yet unfortunate, way of getting to that conclusion, it really was a great analogy. That doesn’t mean go beat up your audience! It means, have a point and use it and say it, over and over and over and over. Pound that one point into the hearts and minds of everyone listening. Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream… Enough said.