Tag Archives: leadership

Secrets from Leadership Speakers

Recipients of The National Speakers Association annual awards. Phillip Van Hooser, The Cavett Award, Bill Stainton, CSP (Certified Speaking Professional), Carey Lorenz, CSP and Rory Vaden, CSP earned their CPAE’s, the Council of Peers Award for Excellence

Last week I spent time in Colorado near the front range of the Rocky Mountains at #Influence19, the annual conference run by the National Speakers Association. This is where professional speakers from around the world convene, learn, and laugh together.

The magic was in the design and execution… these professional leadership speakers absolutely rocked! I found I was intrigued by the process – the behind the scenes look at how these pros operate. What is it like before they walk on the stage? How do they get those books written? I took many notes and want to share a few highlights with you.

Special note: I am VP of Programs for NSA Georgia and we were able to invite a number of speakers from the conference to present here in Atlanta. Check out our organization if you, a friend, or colleague are exploring speaking or you are speaking already. You will get much, much better at the craft of speaking AND will learn terrific ways to run a successful speaking business.

Influence ’19 Leadership Speaker Gems

    • John Maxwell, one of the top leadership speakers and author has written 100 books and writes from 5:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. EVERY DAY. He doesn’t go for perfection. “It may not be my best bit, but it has to be my best shot!” said Maxwell.
    • Patricia Fripp does research on her clients like no one else I have every heard about. With one client, a tree company, she put on a hard hat and spent a day on job sites with the team. She even bought trees for her yard, just to experience the company’s customer service! Patricia (or Fripp as she is known) also said “specificity builds credibility.” Don’t say “thing.” If it weren’t a “thing” what would it be?
    • Robert Cialdini, author of mega hit Influence wants to know who he is writing for. He keeps a picture of his grandchildren next to him to keep his purpose close by. (My late Dad’s photo sits next to me and we have conversations when those writing block periods emerge). Cialdini also referenced his latest work about persuasion. “Prime people to be sympathetic to a message before they hear it.”
    • David Newman, marketing guru, said that for webinars or other services you provide, give value before you charge people. You are not giving anything away. You are just showing them your value. Would you go see a movie if the movie trailer wasn’t good? Love David’s analogies!
    • You Tube star, Jia Jiang’s“Rejection Therapy” approach encourages us to try and get rejected each day. He says we are too afraid of it and we need to get over this fear. He even has a new app you can can sign up for to help with the process!
    • Sonia Aranza, global diversity & inclusion strategist, said you can only take people as far as you have gone yourself. Do work on yourself (ex. go to a retreat) every year.
    • Sam Silverstein, an expert in creating an accountable workforce, says the power is in the debrief. When the client is happy with you, that is when you can effectively offer more services.

One special note: I was so glad to be at the Awards dinner to watch my friend and one of my speaking coaches Bill Stainton receive his CPAE! I am so proud of him and congratulations to ALL the well deserving award recipients!

There was much more, and I hope to see all my speaking friends at #Influence20!

How To Deliver Bad News in a Positive Way

Guest Post by Dianna Booher

Introverts often prefer communicating through writing. Sometimes leaders must take a position or summarize a verbal presentation over email. When this is bad news, it is not easy. But author Dianna Booher has written a book all about that: Faster Fewer Better Emails. In this guest post Dianna provides ways to communicate your message when it isn’t an easy one to convey.

Acknowledge the Facts

If the economy is free-falling, say so. If sales are sinking, say so. If the team is performing poorly, share your numbers. If your organization looks lousy beside the competition, come clean about the market feedback.

Nothing opens people’s minds and raises their estimation of your credibility like admitting the truth—and nothing decreases your credibility like ignoring the obvious or blaming, demonizing, or scapegoating others. You understand how pathetic that makes politicians look if you’ve ever heard them rationalize election results after a dramatic loss or listened to CEOs try to explain away poor earnings after failure to achieve their goals.

Small people shun responsibility. However, strong people shoulder it.

Stop Sugarcoating the Unknown and Unknowable

“Things will work—give it time!” “Don’t worry. Everything’s going to be fine.” “It’ll all work itself out. It always does.” Such are the assurances parents give their kids. You expect them and even appreciate them—at age thirteen. But to an adult hearing such platitudes from bosses, colleagues, or friends who could not possibly know the future and how a situation will actually turn out, these remarks sound empty, if not insulting to your intelligence.

That’s not to say you can’t offer comforting words. You can and should. But to be helpful and consoling, those words should be the right words. Aim to get past the clichés and all-will-be-well platitudes to meaningful comments that encourage and give direction.

Focus on Options for the Future

In a negative situation, strong introverted leaders focus others on positive alternatives and actions with the power of their words. So, if you’re communicating about a tanking economy, the alternative may be to encourage listeners to change investment strategies for their 401K funds. If you’re communicating to comfort employees after personal property destruction because of a weather-related disaster, you could encourage them to consider rebuilding in another area. If you’re announcing a layoff––in addition to communicating compassion––you might focus on the option of new training for updated skills or offer contacts for their job search.

Structure the Message Appropriately

So, for either an email or conversation, how can you organize your bad-news message?

    1. Start on either a positive or neutral note.
    2. Elaborate on the current situation or your criteria/reasoning for making the negative decision.
    3. State the bad news (as positively as possible).
    4. Offer an alternative to meet the person’s goals, when possible.
    5. End with a goodwill statement focused on the future.

To increase your credibility in a bad-news situation, ditch a down-in-the-mouth demeanor. As an introverted leader, give helpful straight talk about the substantive issue and your words will be heard.

 

Dianna Booher’s latest books include Faster, Fewer, Better Emails, Communicate Like a Leader, What MORE Can I Say?, and Creating Personal Presence. She’s the bestselling author of 48 books, published in 61 foreign editions. Dianna helps organizations communicate clearly and leaders to expand their influence by a strong executive presence. National Media such as Good Morning America, USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, and Forbes, have featured her work on communication. www.BooherResearch.com @DiannaBooher

The Quiet Leadership Speaker Who Stunned the Crowd

The quiet leadership speaker who stunned the crowd.

In the last few days, we have learned more about Robert F. Smith, leadership speaker and Austin billionaire who quietly announced at the 2019 Morehouse College commencement that he was paying off the student loans of each and every one of the 400 graduates. There was shock and then sheer exuberance at the realization that this tremendous financial burden would be lifted.This generous gift will change the lives of these graduates who can feel free to move ahead in their careers without the burden of financial debt.

So who is this man who performed such a generous gesture? There isn’t a ton on line about him but what videos and clips exist reveal a person who doesn’t want the spotlight except when he must stand in it. This makes me wonder if Robert Smith may be introverted in temperament. Introverts shy away from lots of attention unless it serves a purpose..

In videos of his speeches and interviews he describes how he learned and grew in his career.

What else about Mr. Smith have we learned?
  • He believes in having grit,…”calling someone each day for 5 months finally materializing in something you what you want” was an example he shared.
  • Discover the joy of figuring things out. “Fight through those problems.
  • He admired James Bond growing up.
  • He builds and develop people in his company, Vista Equity Partners. 
  • He is a deep thinker as evidenced in his interviews. A technology and business background supports this.
  • He gives to many causes, In addition to Morehousethe NY Times reports that “Cornell renamed its School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering after Mr. Smith, and he has made major gifts to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture and other cultural institutions. “
  • He  seized opportunities in each position he was in at Kraft, Goldman Sachs and Bell Labs before he founded his company.
  • He believes in the importance of studying. “You can make more money being smart than being strong or fast.” No one else can take intellectual property from you.

Robert F. Smith  has stayed under the radar until now. The NY Times reported, “Though he shunned the spotlight for many years, he has recently embraced a more public role, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and making major charitable contributions.”

Mr. Smith opened his heart and his purse. Whether he is an introvert or not may be revealed. What is certain, is that this leadership speaker has changed the course of hundreds of lives.

Introvert Qualities: Listen and Learn

Introvert Qualities “Engaged Listening helps you understand what’s going on around you, what people are thinking and feeling, threads of themes, and even what key pieces of the puzzle might be missing.”  p. 74

Quiet Influence: The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference

How is your listening going lately? Could you use a tune up? In what situations might revving up your listening power help you learn more?

I have learned so much about the introvert qualities of listening and pausing as I wear my interviewer’s hat. Gathering research for a book on successful Introvert-Extrovert work partnerships, I listen to recorded stories driving around Atlanta, taking neighborhood walks, and sipping drinks at my local coffee shop. The audio recordings of these sessions reveal rich tapestries and clues and I am both moved and totally engaged. While the puzzle pieces are yet to be assembled, strong themes are emerging. I know that listening will provide the answers I need.

Engaged Listening is one of the introvert qualities that lead to successful interviewing. I hope you find some of these interviewing tips useful.

 

Jennifer Kahnweiler’s Five Tips for Successful Interviewing 

  

1.

Provide questions to your interviewees before talking with them. It helps them to reflect on the answers. This is an introvert sweet spot btw. The responses you get will be thoughtful and well considered.   

2.
Pause after asking a question. You extroverts might struggle with this one, but believe me, it works. Count “1, 2, 3” in your head and don’t try to fill the silence. Ask them if they need more time to think and then let them take it.
3.

Record the interview with your interviewee’s permission. I use the recording feature on GoToMeeting and love it. Don’t worry about getting everything down on paper and replay the audio to hear voice tone and nuance.

4.
Ask open-ended follow-up questions to explore avenues that pique your interest. For instance, “Can you give me an example?” or “Take me back to that day and describe in more detail what occurred?”
5.
Encourage your interviewee’s questions. You might have overlooked what could turn out to be a nugget. A fave question of mine is “What question haven’t I asked you?”

“What books would you bring on introvert island?”

imagesI have met some wonderful colleagues like Beth Buelow  coach and author who is bringing the introvert message to light. She proved to a be terrific interviewer in a recent podcast and used the quiet strength of preparation to make that happen.

My favorite Beth question? “What 3 books would you bring on introvert island and why?” What is making you smile inside today was another(great introvert question by the way)

Curious what your answers would be:)

“No Dirty Work Boots Inside”: Lessons From The Road

I took a wrong turn on my way to Coudersport, PA. No.  I had not heard of the town either but it was where I was booked for a training gig; a 2 1/2 hour ride from the Buffalo airport.  I wondered what I was thinking or drinking when I said yes.

Slave to an uncooperative GPS, I found myself driving 5 miles down a cow path to the next dirt road. Red barns shining in the sun, green grass shimmering and not a bathroom to be seen. As I alternated between slight panic and awe at nature’s splendor,  I wondered where the people had gone to in this twilight zone reality. There were houses and cars but not a person anywhere. I saw a tractor, a few kids selling pumpkins but no stores. There were billboards but definitely no nail salons. I finally saw a real road in the  distance and inhaled and exhaled  relief when I realized I actually might arrive before dark.

I rolled into town, even happy to find my hotel with the “No Dirty Workboots Inside” sign. I grabbed a sandwich in one of two restaurants in town before closing time at 8:00  p.m. and stumbled upon open mike night at a sweet little bar. Guitar music, friendly folks and a warm laid back feeling in this comfy small town.

The next day I found an eager and positive group of eight technical managers ready to learn, engage and support each other with their leadership challenges. Occasionally, talk of hunting, farming and drinking entered the room. The two days went by quickly (at least for me) and before leaving I told them they were the favorite class I had ever taught (in Coudersport!). We all laughed and I jumped into my Corolla with promises to stay in touch. I  made it back to the Buffalo airport armed with new directions (and a different GPS).

One of the many gifts of my work is the chance to travel.  It takes me outside the comfort zone of suburban Dunwoody, GA.   While that travel isn’t always glamorous how else could I meet wholesome people and learn about hunting, farming and dirty work boots? I look forward to the next adventure.

 

 

Being present with a lively pastor

This past week I had the opportunity to interview with a dynamic pastor and church leadership expert named Tony Morgan about The Introverted Leader , I think Tony found me on Twitter (it is hard to remember with so many social networking tools).

Unlike many interviews, where there is some prep, Tony and I winged it. I think it made the conversation more natural and lively. At one point, I referenced holding a drink at a social function and quickly changed the word “drink” to “gingerale”. Tony chided me and said, “Oh, you think  just because I am a pastor, I just drink gingerale.”  I want to be “politically correct,” was my retort. I think we included humor and quite  bit of content in the 14 minute conversation.

It is not truly accurate to say that we did not prepare. Each of us has developed expertise in our respective areas. We just didn’t memorize lines for this one. I believe that being present allowed both of us to  flow with the  conversation.

Check out An Introvert Interviews an Extrovert On Introverted Leaders and let me know if you agree.