Written by David Casullo
This is your goal.
You want to leverage your vision, your passion, and a powerful story to develop a 30-second message that speaks to the hearts and minds of your audience and catalyzes action from all your important stakeholders.
In business, the sole measure of your effectiveness as a communicator is how well your message, your timing, your delivery, your style, and your subsequent behavior marshals the actions of people to drive tangible results.
Take some time to think about how you can promote your resonating culture with all of your important audiences.
1. Think about your most important audiences: employees, customers, vendors, investors. Which of these audiences needs a transfusion of resonating energy the most?
2. Once you’ve identified that audience, write down the top three needs, questions, or concerns from the toughest or most skeptical members of that group.
3. Craft a short speech to that audience. It doesn’t have to be long—maybe six to eight sentences. It should include:
- An acknowledgment of a key concern, issue, fear, or question that this group feels.
- Your core truth as informed by your personal truths and all that you learned from your study of legends as well as from internal and external stakeholders.
- How this truth connects or motivates you to address the concern, issue, fear, or question that you identified.
4. Once you’ve completed refining this statement, reflect on it. What impact would this statement have on your audience? When you’ve crafted your statement properly, your audience feels what you feel. Have you given your audience something to rally around, as with empowering people through communication?
To begin, establish a powerful message that ties your personal truths to the organizational truths. The personal truths you would die for are powerful; your organization’s truths are also powerful. To leverage the combined power of both, and to use the power of communication to send your amplifying energy out over the channel that is your organization’s atmosphere, you must convey a clear, compelling message that resonates with everyone who can bring the desired end state to reality. This cascading energy will, in turn, energize everyone in and around your organization. When you get it right, you will have created the capacity by which unlimited energy can and will be carried to everyone in and around your company.
Think of your communication as though you were Martin Luther King, Jr., speaking into a microphone on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, sending out a message that resonated with a nation. When you master the art of communication, it is powerful, and triggers a cascading effect. You get employees buzzing about why “it’s good” for them personally.
By reaching them at the level of their own personal truths, you stimulate their energy and gain their commitment. By reaching their hearts, you flip the switch of their self-motivation and focus their minds on the actions that are important to driving value. You get them working together in the spirit of shared purpose and camaraderie. You reduce the fear and negative assumptions that come from lack of clarity. Nothing derails morale and diminishes energy like distrust. When your communication is consistent and clear, you create trust and employee engagement.
In 2010 Gallup did some research on employee engagement and determined that “engaged” organizations have 3.9 times the earnings-per-share growth rate compared with that of organizations with lower engagement in their same industry. World-class organizations have a roughly 10-to-1 ratio of engaged to disengaged employees, while average organizations have a ratio of about 2 to 1. Disengaged employees cost U.S. companies roughly $800 billion in productivity annually.
Bottom line—and I do mean quite literally the bottom line—it’s your ability to communicate that has the greatest impact on engagement. In the organizational symphony, your voice is a powerful instrument that can inspire energy and emotion in your listeners. Communicate meaning, not just information, and see the power your words truly have to create the economic results you seek.
Business can be the means to exercise what is most important—to you and to those you lead. The economic results are your scorecard. The real value comes from the impact you have on the world, not so much the business. Steve Jobs said, “I want to make a ding in the universe.” Vince Lombardi said, “We are going to relentlessly chase perfection . . . because in the process we will catch excellence.”
What do you say?
About the Author: David Casullo is president at Bates Communications, a national consulting firm specializing in leadership communication skills and strategy. His passion is developing leaders who have the courage and capability to change the world. His most recent book, “Leading the High-Energy Culture,” has just been published by McGraw-Hill. Dave can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.