Allow your personality to shine through! Part 3

July 29, 2008
Telling Stories by Enoch Mukiibi

Telling Stories by Enoch Mukiibi

My last two posts gave you two reasons to reveal your personality when you talk to your stakeholders (here and here). If you’re still not convinced, another reason to reveal your personality is to hold attention:

“When you stand up and speak to any audience, as their leader you have their attention. But keeping their attention is another challenge. If you are official, dispassionate, concerned about articulating your messages clearly, you will tend to have a flat, focused-on-the-facts presentation. No matter how significant your facts — how relevant, how dramatic — facts after awhile are exhausting, not compelling.

“When you strive to reveal your personality you will have a more conversational tone. You will have more rhythms and more gestures. You will include your stories. You will create the peaks and valleys you need to keep your audience engaged and, at moments, personally inspired.”

Again, Anett D. Grant‘s insight is valuable. First, if you allow yourself to relax and just BE, you’ll be more comfortable. And everyone works better when they’re comfortable, right? And second, notice where the inspiration comes into play. It’s not back there with the facts and figures. Instead, the inspiring happens with the conversational tone, the gestures, the stories. Your stories! The stories are where the connections happen, and that might be the best reason yet to reveal your personality as a leader.

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Shut up and listen.

July 3, 2008

I’m reviewing notes from the IABC International Conference in New York June 22-25. One speaker had her roomful of strangers pair up and tell a vivid, two-minute story about our childhood. It could be about anything, but it had to be descriptive enough for the other person to have a real vision of the circumstances.

My partner told a rich tale of shopping every Sunday afternoon with her grandmother, walking the mall together, getting treats — she even remembered to describe her scent (a little talcum powder, a little Aqua Net and sometimes a dash of Icy Hot). The lush detail got me thinking about my own grandmothers. I started formulating my own story to share before I even realized it.

“Not the point,” I had to remind myself. I had to keep chomping on my tongue to allow her the time and freedom to speak without interrupting or interrogating or otherwise getting in the way. When I focused on listening to her, we connected. There was common ground. And the images she left in my brain sparked memories I might not have accessed if I’d been formulating my answer instead of actively listening. The point of the exercise is clear: we have only one mouth and two ears, which might mean we should listen twice as much as we talk.