3 Secrets to Leader Empathy

Leader empathy secretsDo modern leaders really need empathy – the ability to relate to and build upon the feelings and emotions of others – to be a better leader?

In short, if you have a role where you need to lean more heavily on influencing others ahead of merely issuing instructions, the answer is likely ‘yes’.

In fact, there’s hardly an industry or profession where emotional intelligence hasn’t become one of the most sought after traits for leaders.

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A Storytelling Mistake Every Speaker Needs to Avoid

why speakers must never tell drive-by storiesHere’s a non-secret spoiler alert: Storytelling is the single best means a speaker has to excite an audience and inspire them to remember their ideas long after they step away from a podium.

Unlike facts and figures which are typically forgotten lickety-split, well crafted and delivered stories have the power to engage the human brain at an entirely different level – making it monumentally more likely your ideas can be recalled weeks, months or even years after being shared.

“Big deal. Surely everyone, including any leader worth his or her salt, must know that”, I hear you cry!

Of course.

BUT – while most executives do indeed appreciate the latent potency of first rate storytelling, here’s something that might surprise you (and this is based on having worked with thousands of business leaders to hone their speaking skills over many years)…

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Why You Never Want Audiences to Admire Your Speaking Performances

Seek connection ahead of performance when speakingWhat makes you gravitate towards, enjoy and place greater value in one speaker ahead of another?

At one of the many late night networking discussions held at a bar (well, it would rude not to) during the recent annual American professional speakers’ marque conference – NSA Influence – in Florida, I was especially struck by a fascinating conversation with a collection of my fellow pro speakers from around the globe (from Ireland, Austria, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, the United States, and more).

The topic was this: Which of the event speakers who had spoken by then did we rate most highly and why?

And despite differences you might expect for cultural, topic preference or other reasons, pretty much everyone went for the same top speakers and gave remarkably similar reasons for their choices.

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On Getting Past Fears of Public Speaking: Lessons From a Potter’s Wheel

Public speaking lessons from potterySo, I recently stepped out of my comfort zone to have a bash at something I’ve always thought I’d be useless at – a pottery workshop with my missus (a birthday gift).

And I don’t mind admitting that my expectations were remarkably low. I assumed I’d be the sort who’d have clay flying everywhere and produce nothing more than wonky, misshapen, unrecognisable  ‘thingies’ never intended/destined for the light of day (or public view).

But, fortunately (and there was an element of chance in this), I choose a wonderfully talented and inspiring instructor (Hannah at Ballymorris Pottery – which is right beside Bunratty Castle in County Clare)…

…And that made all the difference in the world.

She managed to allay our fears of messing up (the self same fears that get in the way of honing public speaking skills) and helped us get to a ‘you can do this’ mindset.

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