It's hard to outsource motivation
Robert M. Tomasko
I'll be the first to admit that words can inspire and move people to action. But in a business context I just don't think these words can be outsourced. To have real and lasting impact, they need to come from the organization's leadership, not from a hired speaker. I've found I do much better motivating groups I am actually leading, rather than those whose leaders are paying me to stir-up the troops.
OK, so inspiring business speechmaking can't be outsourced. But can it be learned by senior executives? Of course it can.
Corporate leaders already start out with a powerful advantage when they address their colleagues. I call it "situational charisma," the eager willingness people have to pay special attention to those with a measure of organizational authority over them. This is a great platform on which to build.
Then what? Here are the hallmarks of executives especially good at moving people to action through their spoken words.
- Speak in simple, direct language
- Use stories more than bullets
- Offer easy-to-visualize images, created in vivid, pictorial language
- Follow the "one talk; one theme" rule
They also get to the point right away. Executives know they are in charge; there's no need to break any ice by starting with a joke. And when they end their remarks, leaders leave everyone in the room feeling each person's best efforts are essential to met the challenges facing the business. That's motivation.
© Robert M. Tomasko 2002
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