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The Voice Of Leadership By Joe Love

Editor's Summary: The leaders we most respect and revere are those that have the ability to inspire and create the best in others. This applies in world and social affairs, and in organizations and companies. How do leaders do that? Through developing a voice that conveys integrity and high leader values, that go beyond theatrical speeches. This article talks about the voice of inspiritional and motivational leaders, and provides some hint and tips.

Have you ever attended a seminar or a speaking event where the speaker was polished and pulled out all the stops and really fired up the audience? And then, when it was over, you rushed out the door in an excited buzz with the rest of the audience, but realized that what the speaker said compelled you to do nothing?

These days, technique and entertainment in public speaking seem to be valued over substance. It is rare that a speaker who truly engages people can also compel them to change some aspect of their lives. Speakers today emphasize entertainment and cosmetics over substance. They usually present a simplistic view of reality that is often at odds with the complicated lives of their audience.

True leadership, however, is the ability to move people to change. Based on this criterion, few public speakers are leaders. Yet powerful speaking skills are essential for leaders, at any level, to gain the enthusiastic commitment from their followers for their ideas or new programs.

The ability to lead comes from inside a person and great leaders, those with whom people connect with on an emotional level and who can inspire change, emerge only after experiencing things as they are in the real world. That is why Winston Churchill, Dr. Martin Luther King, Ronald Reagan, among others could inspire. It was their core beliefs and personal experiences, together with a meaningful message, moved people to act.

It's the same in business. Those who experience and articulate reality as it really is, gain the commitment of their followers. People don't follow such authentic leaders because they possess all the right answers, rather, people follow them because they see them as having felt the same confusion and contradictions they have. Leaders address questions that are important to the workforce.

With the traditional business structure changing in the Information Age, stable or secure employment has disappeared. People are no longer asked to "do better," rather, they are asked to "do different." Because of this dramatic change in the business world people need leaders that they can trust, now more than ever.

What does it mean to be a true leader? It means you have to have a vision and you have to live that vision with integrity. Your vision must come from the deepest parts of your inner system of beliefs.

True leaders inspire commitment first by looking inward, becoming aware of what they want to say, and communicating a personal vision of the future. This vision is based on a personal knowledge of the past and realistic and relevant experience of the present.

For a public speaker to be a leader he or she must be able to bridge between vision and action. What the speaker says has to be able to move people to action and therefore requires the speaker to uncover and clarify his or her personal values.

If you are trying to lead people in a particular direction and want them to take action, it is your personal values that will support the changes that you are trying to lead. Knowing them helps you weave your convictions into what you are trying to say that let others know who you are and what you stand for.

You won't find your personal vision of what change is necessary in books or from other people. To have an effect on others, the change you propose must come from your values. These values are vital, to you and those you are trying to reach, because you have experienced them to be true. That is why your self-knowledge is so important, because if you are original then your point of view will also be original.

Here are three questions that will help you to uncover your values:

1. What single value is so important that you would teach it to your children as the most important foundation for a happy life?

2. What condition in your industry would you change? How?

3. What is the most important social problem we have to deal with? How would you make it right?

A leadership speech must have a structure. You must tell your audience where you've been, where you are, and where you are going. Each element tells part of your story and is an opportunity to connect with the audience. It's an opportunity to give people a sense that things are moving forward and that they can contribute to the new future that you describe.

In the beginning of your speech, you must establish your credibility and prepare people to listen with open minds. Here are the beginning elements that an effective leadership speech should have:

. Introduction of the speaker.

. Acknowledgment of the audience.

. A concise statement of the purpose of the speech.

. Acknowledgment of resistance.

. A clear statement of the benefit of change and the price of maintaining the status quo.

After you've covered each of these elements, then you need to tell the story of change. You need to relate the context and reasons for the change, the steps needed to reach it, and the obstacles to it. To accomplish this you have to appeal to the hearts and minds of your audience.

The end of your speech is the most important part because you've been successful in offering compelling evidence and tapping your own enthusiasm, the audience has become more and more interested in what you have to say. At this point you are the closest to your audience, so now is when you have the best opportunity to reinforce supporters and diffuse opponents.

For your leadership speech to end memorably it must have these elements:

. A conclusion.

. A call for action.

. A question-and-answer session.

. A fresh statement of the major point of the speech.

Cynicism and distrust are on the rise today and people can detect pure showmanship and entertainment that are disguised as leadership. This is why true, value-based leadership is needed more today than ever before. People who have vision and live their vision with integrity will have the respectful commitment of their followers and that's what is needed to meet today's competitive challenges of the 21st century.

Copyright©2006 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many businesses around the world, on the subjects of leadership, achievement, goals, strategic business planning, and marketing. Joe is the author of three books, Starting Your Own Business, Finding Your Purpose In Life, and The Guerrilla Marketing Workbook.

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