As a leader, you need to infuse your words, actions and stories with passion and authenticity. Every time you communicate a message, incorporate specific, dynamic verbs that characterize your intentions.
In the work I do coaching leaders, I find many who are passionate about their work, but are reserved in expressing it sufficiently in their everyday communication.
Leaders generally try to explain or relay information. This very type of communication lacks energy, passion and/or tension. Instead of using dry, colorless verbs to convey your point, substitute action words that carry emotional intensity and express your passion.
For example, don’t “make an announcement to explain upcoming changes.” Instead, “challenge people to make some adjustments” or “overcome obstacles to success.” Focus on what truly matters: your passionate purpose.
Have you ever noticed what happens in a conference room full of people when a speaker starts telling stories? People sit up straight and lean toward the speaker. They put down their smartphones, stop texting and begin to pay attention.
Effective storytelling goes beyond the conference room. The minute your boss tells you a personal story, you listen intently because you’re gaining a glimpse into his or her authentic self and true passions.
Telling stories helps you express yourself naturally. You needn’t be an accomplished or trained speaker to come across as genuine and interesting. When you tell a personal story, your voice, body and emotions work in concert to create authenticity.
You generate emotional responses from your audience, touching both head and heart — a far cry from relying on PowerPoint presentations and ordinary bullet points.
Connect with your inner passions by asking yourself:
- What am I fighting for?
- What do others want?
- What are the obstacles?
Use your answers to choose verbs that capture your passionate purpose.
Never forget that every human interaction — from meetings and presentations to memos and face-to-face conversations — involves needs and desires, real or potential conflicts. These pivotal moments are opportunities to inspire, change minds and influence behavior.
Your goal is to inspire others to take action.