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Successful Public Speakers Never Say These 7 Things

Successful Public Speakers Never Say These 7 Things

It takes a lot of guts and an unbelievable desire to pursue your passion to be a successful public speaker. You have to be comfortable enough to be in your “zone”; but you also have to be competent enough to illustrate your confidence and expertise on the topic you’re talking about.

As with all things, successful public speakers aren’t born–they’re made from scratch, beaten up verbally, mocked endlessly and criticized harshly until they’re shaped appropriately.

Now, let’s take an innovative approach to public speaking training. Instead of outlining the phrases that you should say, I’m going to tell you the phrases that you should avoid. After all, it’s easier to remember the things that you should avoid, don’t you think so?

Let’s start:

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1. “Oh, I apologize for that.”

If you’ve already moved over to the next slide and a participant tells you to go back because they haven’t really understood it, don’t say, “I’m sorry!” Instead, smile and say, “It’ll be my pleasure to discuss this with you.”

When you’re invited to be a guest speaker, the organizer values you and trusts your authority on the topic. As a result, these attendees believe you’re the expert in the matter. You should exude an aura of confidence. Saying you’re sorry is only acceptable if you’ve offended anyone. Otherwise, don’t say it. It makes you seem apologetic and insecure. Who says they’re sorry when they haven’t really done anything wrong?

2. “My voice is soft today because I’m exhausted.”

You’re human. All of the attendees know that you’re not a robot, so, of course you’re prone to over-fatigue and illness. But remember, all of these participants are also humans who are equally susceptible. They paid with their time and money in order to listen to an expert who is at the top of his game, so you’re still expected to go on with the show.

You’re free to whine and mope around in bed after your speech. But, before that, don’t complain while talking about your topic–it gives off a negative energy that you may pass on to your audience.

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3. “I’m not sure about that.”

If you’re not sure about something, why are you presenting it in the first place? To spread confusion? To make your audience doubt your credibility? When in doubt, don’t mention it anymore. Let’s face it: if you were planning on presenting a certain statement, you should have exerted an effort to confirm its validity.

If someone asks a question about something that you’re not familiar with, don’t give a half-hearted answer and then say that you’re not sure. Instead you should say, “That’s a good question that warrants an even better answer. So, if we could exchange contacts later, I’d love to get back to you on this after I do some extensive research on this matter.”

4. “Let’s not go back anymore.”

Your aim is to make the audience understand the subject matter. If they don’t comprehend and they want to go back, it’s your responsibility to explain it to them. Respect their time, but also respect their willingness to learn.

5. “I’ll make this fast.”

Successful public speakers are known to take their time in encouraging their listeners to ask questions. They are really interested in the process of learning and teaching, and they don’t think of their seminars as marathons. Instead, they are similar to walks in the park or jogging leisurely around the neighborhood.

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Learning is a process that requires patience. If you’re speaking about something, don’t just focus on being heard–focus on being understood

6. “You weren’t listening, were you?”

You’re not a babysitter to a bunch of toddlers. Saying this in public is tantamount to accusing them of misbehaving.

You are a professional public speaker who has been invited to talk to colleagues. You need to give them the same respect that you want to get from them.

7. “I’m a pile of nerves right now.”

We all know that public speaking makes some people nervous, but announcing it to the public is just re-affirming that fact. In fact, if you constantly repeat this, your audience may doubt you and feel like you are not experienced enough. They may not pay attention to you anymore. Don’t say you’re nervous, as it may also freak you out and knock you out of your game. Instead, say, “I’m so excited to be here. We’re all going to learn from each other,” and smile genuinely.

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Which of these have you heard from a speaker before? How did you feel after hearing it?

Featured photo credit: sw_UNForumSeattle_cs8267.jpg/jppi via cdn.morguefile.com

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Last Updated on March 15, 2019

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

How to Be a Leader Who Is Inspiring and Influential

When I began managing people 15 years ago, I thought having a fancy title was synonymous with influence. Over time, I learned that power is conferred based on likeability, authenticity, courage, relationships and consistent behavior. When leaders cultivate these attributes, they earn power, which really means influence.

Understanding influence is essential to professional growth, and companies rise and fall based on the quality of their leadership.

In this article, we will look into the essentials of effective leadership and how to be a leader who is inspiring and influential.

What Makes a Leader Fail?

A host of factors influence a leader’s ability to succeed. To the extent that leaders fail to outline a compelling vision and strategy, they risk losing the trust and confidence of their teams. Employees want to know where a company is going and the strategy for how they will get there. Having this information enables employees to feel safe, and it allows them to see mistakes as part of the learning journey versus as fatal occurrences.

If employees and customers do not believe a company’s leadership is authentic and inspiring, they may disengage, or they may be less inclined to offer constructive criticism that can help a company innovate or help a leader improve.

And it is not just the leadership at the top that matters. Middle managers play a distinct role in guiding teams. Depending on the company’s size, employees may have more access to mid-level managers than they do members of the C-suite, meaning their supervisors and managers have greater influence on the employee and the customer experience.

What Is Effective Leadership?

Effective leadership is inspiring, and it is influential. Cultivating inspiring and influential leaders requires building relationships across the company.

Leaders must be connected to both the teams they lead as well as to their own colleagues and managers. This is key as titles do not make a person a leader, nor do they automatically confer influence. These are earned through trusting relationships. This explains why some leaders can get more out of their teams than others and why some leaders experience soaring profits and engagement while others sizzle out.

Eric Garton said in an April 25, 2017, Harvard Business Review article:[1]

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“… inspiring leaders are those who use their unique combination of strengths to motivate individuals and teams to take on bold missions – and hold them accountable for results. And they unlock higher performance through empowerment, not command and control.”

How to Be an Inspiring and Influential Leader

To be an inspiring and influential leader requires:

1. Courage

The late poet Maya Angelou once said,

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”

Courage is required in the workplace when implementing new strategies, especially when they go against professional norms.

For instance, I heard Lisa TerKeurst, bestselling author and founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries, explain her decision to move away from her company’s magazine. While the organization had long had a magazine, she saw a future where it didn’t exist.

In order to make the switch, she risked angering her team members and customers. She took a chance, and what started out as a monthly newsletter, has grown into a multi-dimensional organization boasting half a million followers. Had Lisa not found the courage to change the direction of her organization, they undoubtedly would not have been able to experience such exponential growth.

It also takes courage to give and receive feedback. When leaders see employees who are not living into the company’s mission or who are engaging in behavior that may undermine their long-term success, one must risk temporary angst and speak candidly with the colleague in question.

Similarly, it takes courage to hear constructive criticism and try to change. In business, as in life, courage is necessary for being an inspiring and influential leader.

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2. A Commitment to Face Your Internal Demons.

If you feel great about yourself, enter a leadership position. You are likely to be triggered in ways you didn’t think possible. You are also likely to receive feedback that may leave you second-guessing yourself and your leadership skills.

The truth about leading others is that you get to a point where you realize that it is difficult to take people to places where you yourself haven’t gone.

To be an influential and inspiring leader, you have to face your own demons and vow to continually improve. Influential leaders take their personal evolution serious, and they invest in coaching, therapy and mindfulness to ensure that their personal struggles do not overshadow their professional development.

3. A Willingness to Accept Feedback

Inspiring and influential leaders are not afraid to accept feedback. In fact, they actively solicit it. They understand that everyone in their life has a lesson to teach them, and they are willing to accept it.

Inspirational leaders understand that feedback is neither good nor bad but rather an offering that is critical to growth. Even when it hurts or is an affront to the ego, influential leaders understand that feedback is critical to their ability to lead.

4. Likability

Some people will argue that leaders need not worry about being liked but should instead focus on being respected. I disagree. Both are important.

When team members like their boss and believe their boss likes them, they are more likely to go the extra mile to fulfill departmental or organizational goals. Likable leaders are moved to the front of the line when it comes to being influential.

Relatedly, when colleagues feel management dislikes them, they experience internal stress and can spend unnecessary time focusing on the source of their manager’s discontent versus the work they have been hired to do.

So, likability is important for both the leader and the people she leads.

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5. Vulnerability

Vulnerability is critical for being an inspiring leader. People want the truth. They admire leaders who can occasionally demonstrate vulnerability. It promotes deeper relationships and inspires trust.

When leaders can showcase vulnerability appropriately, they destroy the illusion that one must be perfect to be a leader. They also demonstrate that vulnerability is not a dirty word; they too can be vulnerable and ask for a helping hand when necessary.

6. Authenticity

Authenticity is about living up to one’s stated values in public and behind closed doors.

Influential leaders are authentic. They set to live out their values and use those values to guide their decisions. The interesting thing about leadership is that people are not looking for perfect leaders. They are, in part, looking for leaders who are authentic.

7. A True Understanding of Inspiration

Effective leaders are inspirational. They understand the power of words and deeds and use both strategically.

Inspiring leaders appropriately use stories and narratives to enable the teams around them to see common situations in an entirely new light.

Inspirational leaders also showcase grit and triumph while convincing the people around them that success and victory are attainable.

Finally, inspiring leaders encourage the teams they lead to tap into their own genius. They convince others that genius is not reserved for a select few but that most people have it in them.

As explained in the article True Leadership: What Separates a Leader from a Boss:

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“A leader creates visions and motivates team members to work together towards the same goal.”

8. An Ability to See the Humanity in Others

Inspiring and influential leaders see the humanity in others. Rather than treating their teams as mere tools to accomplish organizational goals, they believe the people around them are unique beings with inherent value.

This means knowing when to pause to address personal challenges and dispelling with the myth that the personal is separate from the professional.

9. A Passion for Continual Learning

Inspiring and influential leaders are committed to continual learning. They invest in their own development and take responsibility for their professional growth.

These leaders understand that like a college campus, the workplace is a laboratory for learning. They believe that they can learn from multiple generations in the workplace as well as from people from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds.

Influential leaders proactively seek out opportunities for learning.

The Bottom Line

No one said leadership was easy, but it is also a joy. Influencing others to action and positively impacting the lives of others is a reward unto itself.

Since leadership abounds, there is an abundance of resources to help you grow into the type of leader who inspires and influences others.

More Resources About Effective Leadership

Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Harvard Business Review: How to Be an Inspiring Leader

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