This is adapted from a blog by Gary Genard, July 2013. The message to you as a leader is inescapable. When we address our team we are giving a speech, motivating people. Improve your message with a story that connects to the emotion you seek to move.
Most managers/leaders feel that when they address their employees their job is “to convey facts and figures.” That’s not it. More accurately their job is meeting the needs of the listeners and achieving a lasting influence. This applies if you are delivering a speech to a general audience or delivering a message to your employees.
Employees and audiences will remember their emotional response to you long after the information you deliver has faded from memory. The retention skills of audiences are notoriously shaky, and within a week, listeners will remember as little as 10% of the “critical” data you presented to them. Yet if you touched them emotionally, they may remember you for a lifetime. Consider these examples:
- JFK’s inauguration speech
- MLK’s “I have a dream speech”
- FDR’s address to congress to declare war on Japan… “A day which will live in infamy”
Don’t just educate; move your audience. Don’t inform listeners; inspire them. To do so means creating an emotional connection. Even CFOs must put financial information into context for the C-suite, to help these executives process the information in terms of company goals and initiatives.
No leader succeeds merely by possessing the best information. True leaders use that information to motivate and activate employees and followers.
There is only one tool that allows you as speaker to accomplish this task: It is you—physically, emotionally, and in the ways you demonstrate leadership when you speak. In tough times or good times, you are the message. It’s a formula for succeeding as a speaker that goes far beyond “conveying facts and figures.”