Speaking To Inspire Others
02.27.13 | Posted in Guest Blog
Peter Meyers – Guest Blogger
Last week’s Weekly Intention was focused on Critical Communications – communications when the stakes are high and the outcome important to all parties. I hope you enjoyed that post and took the intentional steps necessary to become a great communicator when it counts….which is ALL of the time!
This past weekend, I spent two days in San Francisco with over 30 other leaders from around the world participating in a workshop called Speak To Inspire led by Peter Meyers and his incredible team. His company is called Stand & Deliver and they are a global communications company and work with organizations helping their leaders become more high performing communicators. Normally this program is provided internally to corporations, but occasionally Peter and his team will provide a public program like the one that I attended. To say it was valuable and that I learned a lot would be like saying the sun is big and hot! Wow, what an experience and I highly recommend Peter and his company and this public workshop the next time they make it available. I’ll provide a link at the end of the blog to the Stand & Deliver website.
Peter, along with Shann Nix published a book in 2012 titled As We Speak: How To Make Your Point And Make It Stick. It is from their book that we take an excerpt for today’s blog so that we can learn more about becoming a great communicator.
Take it away Peter and Shann!
“You engage in hundreds of conversations every week, with people who matter. You might be speaking to one person over the kitchen table, or to five hundred people in an auditorium. Each one of those conversations has the potential to change the course of events in your life, your career, your family, your school, or your organization. Communication and conversation are, in fact, an act of leadership. And in order to achieve your desired result, your communication must be effective. It’s that simple.
The world is full of brilliant people whose ideas are never heard. There has never been a greater need for you to step forward and make your own personal contribution. Now more than ever, we’re looking to our parents, teachers, bosses, colleagues, and political leaders for direction, meaning, and trust.
Once upon a time, information was power. Now that you can get all the data you need in a heartbeat, the information age is over. The Internet ended it, by making information free and equally available to everyone.
Now we are drowning in data, and starved for meaningful conversation and connection! Trying to influence someone by simply offering him information doesn’t work. Recent research has revealed the dirty secret of the human brain: decisions are made not on the left side of the brain, which deals with logic, facts, analysis, and sequential process, but on the right side of the brain, which deals with emotions, concepts, metaphors, humor and stories. In other words, we make decisions based not on the facts, but on how we feel. We “go with our gut,” or “have a hunch.” Then we scurry over to the logical side of the brain – the left side – and gather the facts and arguments we need to backup the decision we’ve already made.
So, when you try to influence someone purely by giving him data, you’re speaking to the wrong part of the brain. You’re wasting your time.
Most of us make our first mistake in communications before we ever open our mouths. We assume that the listener cares about what we want to say.
But they don’t.
To truly communicate with another person, you need to think about what they need. Not just telling them what they want to hear – but understanding what the other person needs to feel, know and experience in order to create a shift in their thinking.
It’s not about you. It’s all about them.
A leader’s impact is exponential; not just a few, but hundreds or thousands of people are affected by every word he speaks. If you’ve ever left a job because of your boss’s communication skills (or lack of them!) you’re not alone; it’s the reason most frequently given for leaving a position. And yet most people don’t wake up and say, “How can I ruin someone’s day with my words today?” The issue is that they wake up and ask, “How can I get across what I want to say?” without thinking about how it’s going to impact the listener. And in the process they often end up leaving people confused, angry, or overwhelmed.”
I hope this brief excerpt of the book will entice you to buy it and read it. Leadership requires expert communication skills. I continue to be amazed at the lack of these skills by leaders who have already acquired some status. If you want to get to the head of the pack, this one area of intentional focus can pay the biggest dividends of any investment of time, money and effort.
Onward & Upward!
Peter Meyer’s website: