Speaking Up with Donny Deutsch
I recently appeared on CNBC's The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch show. The topic was "speaking your mind to get what you want." The CNBC producers asked me to outline several strategies to help viewers communicate with confidence. Here are the four strategies we discussed on the show.
Get 'em to care. You can't get your listeners to care about your ideas until they know just how much you care about the topic. As Suze Orman once told me, you cannot inspire unless you're inspired yourself. The trick is to identify your true passion and use it to articulate your message consistently. Here's a hint: Your message shouldn't revolve around a widget. Instead, explain how your product or service will improve the lives of your customers.
Deutsch, a former advertising executive, is a skilled interviewer and exudes energy throughout the entire length of his one-hour show. I believe Deutsch's energy level is a direct result of his passion for his job. He once observed that if he were to ask 2,000 leaders about the key to their success, to a person they would say, 'Do what you love.' Donald Trump once said, without passion you have no energy and without energy you have nothing. Effective communicators have energy, and it starts with passion.
Grab 'em and keep 'em. Grab the attention of your listeners by crafting a vision that is clear, concise, and compelling. A successful vision is a vivid description of a better future made possible by your service or product. It should be 10 words or less (BusinessWeek.com, 12/7/07).
A second key to grabbing and keeping your listeners' attention is by telling stories throughout your conversation. Stories help to place your message in a context that is relevant to the lives of your listeners. They don't need to be long. A 30-second story about why you joined a company or started your business might suffice. Most business professionals don't tell stories. They give product descriptions and fail to connect with listeners on an emotional level.
Blow 'em away by talking, walking, and looking like a leader. Inspiring communicators exude command presence (BusinessWeek.com, 4/12/06). They wear clothes that reflect their identity, they use their voices effectively, and they carry themselves with confidence. Here are the three keys to strong body language.
1. Eye contact. Make eye contact 80% to 90% of the time in a business setting.
2. Maintain open posture. A closed posture is one in which the speaker places a barrier between himself and the listener, such as crossing his arms or standing behind a lectern. Open your arms to welcome your listener.
3. Use hand gestures. Complex thinkers use complex gestures. Don't be robotic by trying to mimic someone else's gestures. And don't be reluctant about using gestures that come naturally to you.
Leave 'em wanting more. I believe you can be successful without being an inspiring communicator. But you will never be recognized as a leader until you inspire the people around you through your use of language. Once you reach that level of leadership, magical things begin to happen: Employees want to work for you, customers want to buy from you, and investors want to fund you. Everyone is energized by your presence.