Masterful Communication: Dance With the One That Brought Ya'

The next time you give a presentation, remember to dance with the one that brought ya'. Look for those handful of audience members who are totally with you, checked in, listening up, leaning forward, and "dancing the dance" with you.

Have a conversation with these few people. Make and maintain eye contact with them. Read and respond to their body language. These dance partners will motive, energize and inspire you.

Your new-found energy will bring along the folks who just need to be asked in the right way to dance. Most importantly, forget about the few people who won't dance because they don't like the song, don't like your style, or just don't like to dance at all.


Masterful Communication: The Official 7 Authenticity Rules

If you are a reader of this blog, but haven't been to the Authenticity Rules blog (my presentation skills blog), the following PDF file will introduce you to the rules and hopefully encourage you to check out, study and sign up for your weekly dose of Authenticity!

Right-click to download the PDF - The 7 Authenticity Rules

(get the free Acrobat Reader)


The PowerPoint Show

The images I use for my leadership PowerPoint show can be viewed and downloaded here...



PS - The song I use is by Mat Kearney - Won't Back Down.


Skill Assessment: Scaling the Elevator

I had a great meeting yesterday with Steven Menzel, Director of the International Association of Character Cities for Character First, a character growth organization here in Oklahoma City. We chatted about a range of topics and training leaders popped up. Steve's father was a policeman, Steve is ex-military and he works for a character company. Needless to say, he had some great insights on leadership and leadership development. Here is a quote from Steve that is an interesting way to think about your influence growth journey...

"Leadership development, any skill development really, is just like walking up a down escalator. It is challenging, frustrating at times, hard work and when you stop exerting effort you immediately start going downhill." Steven Menzel, Character First


Fostering Relationships: 10 Ways to Weaken Communication

The following 10 actions weaken our ability to communicate openly and honestly with each other - particularly in a work and/or team environment. For each of the 10, there is a solution (which is really just the opposite of the weak action.)

1. Talking bad about someone not present
Stephen Covey says a great way to build trust with people is to talk up about people not present.

2. Talking about problems without offering solutions
This not only doesn't help anything, it also encourages people to avoid having meaningful conversations with you.

3. Asking for advice and not listening
If you really don't want their opinion or ideas, don't ask.

4. Not seeking clarity
The Alpha and Omega of great communication is clarity. Seek it out at all cost.

5. Telling a lie
It is amazing how simple and equally difficult this is to not do. Read this post to put some framework to why you do it.

6. Avoiding a difficult conversation
Make a commitment to your relationships and make the difficult chats happen. When done properly (measured emotion, authentic feelings, mutual respect, separation of behavior and person, etc.) the upsides greatly outweigh the downsides.

7. Criticizing in public
Encourage in public. Praise unreasonably. Only criticize if you have been asked (from a peer) or if it is part of a feedback session (if you are a supervisor/manager/etc.).

8. Talking in generalities
Like clarity, being specific and concrete in your comments strengthens your ability to communicate effectively.

9. Not meeting regularly
Inertia sets in and we lose track of time. Take time to meet (formally or informally) with your team mates, class mates, spouse, children, etc. and don't do anything but talk about how things are going.

10. Being too self-focused
No matter the communication context (one-on-one, public venue, marketing brochure, etc.), being audience-focused is vital and enabling. Think before you talk. Consider how they will recieve it. Put yourself in their shoes.


Goal Processing: Don't Believe the No U-Turn Signs

Most people you know are conditioned to follow the "No U-Turns" signs in their leadership life because they don't understand the power of this concept...

1. If you want to change a leadership outcome (i.e. - the result of your influence), you have to change.

2. If you want to change, you have to change a pattern in your life. We are creatures of habit. We are what we repeatedly do. Your leadership influence is the sum of your life patterns. Meaningful change only happens when a pattern is changed.

3. If you want to change a pattern in your life, you have to identify a faulty pattern and replace it with a good pattern.

4. If you want to swap out a faulty pattern with a good one, you have to start with deleting the bad pattern first. Then learning the new pattern second. You can't do both at the same time. You have to make a U-turn.

The Driving Metaphor

You are currently driving west, but you know you are headed the wrong way. You are supposed to be driving east. So, you have to physically stop driving west, turn around and start driving east. You can't keep driving west (continuing the old pattern) while also making progress going east (starting the new pattern.) You can't do both simultaneously. You have to ignore the signs and make a U-turn.

This same concept works in your life. You have to ignore the physical, mental, emotional and social pressures of repeating the old pattern, stop that pattern and start a new pattern.

WARNING - This is going to require some heavy-lifting. The inertia of your old ways will be strong. Your habits are greedy. They do not want you to kill them. This is why most people you know take the easy road and simply don't do the work. They take the easy road of driving west. It takes time, energy, focus and determination to stop, turn around and drive east. However, anything worth doing is difficult. Especially in the complicated world of leadership.

So, start today. Identify a change you know you need to make. Find areas in your leadership life where you aren't accomplishing the results you want or need. Find a better pattern (via personal study, leaning on a mentor, good old common sense, etc.) and make a U-turn in your life. The habit you need to change might be a communication habit, a relationship habit, a learning habit, a temper habit, etc. The possibilities are endless. You know what you need to change. Stop expecting it to change itself, take control of the wheel and turn around.