What is it about those leaders others deem inspiring?
Having run powerful speaking programs for the past few years, and taught participants how to genuinely connect with their audiences – and even experience the delight and power of holding those audiences in the palm of their hand – I’ve noticed it comes down to just a few behaviours.
They’re easy to define. And, when it comes to embodying them, they’re more an attitude to, and way of, life than just the way you speak:
1. Inspiring leaders walk to the beat of their own drum
Inspiring leaders have found the courage to step outside the safety of doing it the way it’s always been done, and forge their own path.
They’re brave and bold – vocal too – as they not only share their ideas, but embody them to their very core.
Driven by a purpose that’s bigger than they are, inspiring people keep stepping up with strength and commitment in the face of opposition and judgment.
Easy? No way. But they wouldn’t have it any other way.
Think: Malala Yousafzei, the teenager who was shot by Taliban gunmen, and is now an education activist. She won the UN 2013 Human Rights Prize and is the youngest person to have been a Nobel Prize nominee.
Questions for you: How have you forged your own path? What is it about that that could be used to inspire others?
You don’t need to be another Malala Yousafzei. What’s ordinary to you may well be extraordinary to others.
2. Inspiring leaders are not just in it for themselves
The epitome of service, inspiring leaders are all about helping others.
They use their experiences, especially the tough ones, to help others overcome their own challenges. They want what they’ve learned to be useful.
They’re open about their foibles and so-called failings, understanding the power of vulnerability, and that one of the greatest gifts they can give is to share their insights to help others succeed.
Think: Brene Brown, shame researcher and author, who not only shares her own experiences with authenticity and vulnerability, but literally wrote the book/s on it.
Questions for you: What insights do you have that could help others succeed? How will you share them? If you made serving others your priority, what would you say and do?
3. Inspiring leaders tell the best stories
Inspiring people understand that there are no brand new stories, just their own take and experiences to illustrate them.
They use their unique way of looking at life and the world, and what they’ve been through – wonderful and terrible – to tell powerful stories that touch their audiences.
The most powerful stories? Personal. Without a doubt. And, often exposing flaws, vulnerable, relevant, and resonating emotionally.
Bringing old wisdom to life in fresh and relevant ways, inspiring leaders share messages that are memorable.
They also share them in a way that makes a difference and impacts far beyond the moment they’re spoken.
Your stories don’t need to be filled with the drama and action of the big screen. They just need to be real, and told in your unique way to translate a message that matters.
Questions for you: What stories could you share to make a difference? How will you tell them to create maximum impact?
Want to add your name to the list of inspiring leaders? I have something for you.
It’s your opportunity to become a more inspiring leader by creating a TED-style talk and delivering it to a live audience. Early bird registration is now open (save $200).
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