Use This Process to Get, Hold and Inspire Your People to Act
I’ve had one corporate job in my career.
Every quarter, there was a meeting for all of the headquarters employees. Initially, I thought this was a great idea. Everybody gets to hear from the chairman directly.
Then I heard him speak.
When Leaders Communicate the Wrong Thing
He gave a monotone recitation of our corporate performance (this was a public company) and an exhortation to work harder. Then he scowled and asked if we had any questions. You’ll be shocked to learn no one ever did.
He did a perfunctory job, and we all suffered through it. Every three months the numbers changed but the boredom stayed the same.
As a leader, this next year will probably be one of the most important for communicating well with your people. And you’ll likely have to speak louder than the noises in their homes and break through the distance they feel by watching you in a box on a screen.
How It Looks to Connect
Here are ideas on how to structure your communications—no matter what format or length of time–to truly connect.
- Get Their Attention. If you are speaking after another presenter, your goal is to take control of the room and clear the energy (positive or negative) from that person. If you are the only one speaking, then your goal is to capture the audience’s interest. You do this by getting people to laugh, think, be afraid or annoyed.
- Connect with Them. The best way often is to tell a story: your own or one that people can relate to: who I am, why I’m here, teaching, vision, values in action, or I know what you’re thinking. Pick one that’s meaningful to your audience.
- Move into Your Content. Tell people what you’re going to tell them. Explain why what you’re sharing is important—how this will prevent them from making a mistake or help them improve their/their clients’ lives. People believe numbers, and you probably have plenty of statistics. Raise the level of pain in the room. You have to make people feel uncomfortable enough to act.
- Remind Them of the Pain of Inaction. Give them examples of the cost of doing nothing. Let them know you understand that they haven’t taken action already because it seems daunting and frightening.
- Envision a Better Future. Show them how their lives could look if we all work together. Introduce them to the program/process/resources for additional information. Speak to the benefits not the features.
- Invite Them to Join You/Give Your Call to Action. Let them know what the next steps are and how you will be supporting them.
- Say What “Yes” Will Bring. Ask them to picture their lives a year from now (or two or three) if they say “yes” today.
- Repeat Your Call to Action. Remind them of the specific steps they need to take. Leave them with an inspiring quote or thought. Thank them and invite them to meet you in the back of the room.
TREAT People Like Your Most Important Asset
It was clear to all of us listening (half-heartedly) to the chairman that we were something to cross off his to-do list. “Quarterly employee meeting–DONE!”
Don’t squander your chance to share important ideas with your people, listen to them, and create the connection that leads to relationships and trust. Make this worth their time.