Every leader I have ever worked with wants to inspire the people they lead. They often have developed incredible vision, strategies, and plans that they hope inspires others. Where they fall short is what they do to activate people with these visions, strategies, and plans. I spend many coaching sessions helping my clients prepare for important opportunities where they want to inspire action and they just don’t know where to start.
I’m going to share a simple strategy for getting started and an awesome resource to support you to inspire action when you communicate.
Simply put, leaders inspire people to take action by what and how they communicate. Learn how to use the “before, during, and after strategy” to help you make the most of your important leadership communication opportunities. The strategy consists of the following parts:
Before: What do you do before the opportunity to prepare for it?
During: What do you do during your opportunity to ensure your audience is following you and you are tending to their curiosities and potential objections?
After: What do you do after each high-stakes communication opportunity to ensure that action is taken?
Today’s topic will focus on the first part of the strategy, what you do before each important opportunity to prepare.
The secret to great preparation lies in your ability to get into the shoes of your audience. Use our more in-depth “Preparing for an important communication opportunity” resource to help you prepare for an actual opportunity you have.
For those who want a preview, here is a quick summary of the areas you need to think about as you prepare:
Context - What prompted the need for this communication? What is the issue or leadership opportunity here?
Audience - Who are they? What do they know about the topic? What are they concerned about?
Opening - How can you open your communication in a way that engages the audience? (hint - tell a story and make sure you connect it to the topic and the audience)
Topic - What are you actually communicating about?
Main Point/Idea - What do you believe about the topic? What are you trying to achieve? What is the main thing you want the audience to know?
Data/Information - Everything you share should link to your main point or idea and be aimed at helping your audience understand the topic. Don’t overload your audience with irrelevant info that you think is important. Organize all the data/information using an intentional structure.
Outcome/Action – What specific action should the audience take? What are you going to do next? This doesn’t have to be all the actions, focus on the first action that would begin to move things forward.
Inspiring people to act requires preparing in advance, staying present during execution, and committing to follow-up.
Right now, look at your calendar and choose an important opportunity. An opportunity where you want to make an impact - one where the stakes are high.
Next month we will talk about staying present during execution!