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Revealed! Speaking secrets of great leaders – Jason Phillips

Great communication skills are essential for great leaders.

Leaders must communicate their vision in a way that inspires people, and be able to persuade others to take certain actions. They don’t just talk about an idea, they also appeal to people’s emotions and aspirations. To help you reach this level of communication, here are some speaking secrets of great leaders.

Speak to individuals

Whether you’re talking to somebody one-on-one, or speaking in front of a thousand people, communicate as though you are talking to an individual person. Great speakers can tailor their message so that each of those thousand people will feel that the speaker is talking to them as an individual. This will help you build rapport with members of the audience, which then helps to establish credibility and trust.

Be specific

Don’t be ambiguous, putting out a message which is vague or confusing. There is no point to making a speech which does not have a specific point to it, or which people don’t understand. Make your presentation simple and concise, and don’t waste either your time or the audience’s. Cut out excess material, and the key points you want to make will stand out more clearly, and be more memorable for listeners. Make your words count.

Know your subject matter cold

If you don’t really understand your subject matter, that will show, at least to some members of your audience. At best, people will tune out, and at worst, this is a quick way to lose credibility. You don’t want to be known as a faker who doesn’t really know what he’s talking about, so make sure that you have expertise in your topic before speaking about it in public. Master the ins and outs of your speech, make sure your information is correct and always be ready to answer questions. People like when public speakers interact with their audience; this makes them seem so credible and genuine.


Read your audience

Great communicators have exceptional observation skills and awareness of the situation around them. They are able to read the attitudes and moods of a person or a group, sensing the dynamics going on around them. Not only can they sense how the audience is responding to their message, but they can also adapt their speech based on that audience response. This lets them tailor each presentation to be uniquely effective for a specific time, place, and group.

Tell a compelling story

Great leaders are able to get people to follow them, and the key to this is communicating a simple, compelling story that inspires people. Tell people what your vision is, and where your organization is going. Share your direction, your challenges, and your progress. Keep it simple, real, and imbue it with some emotion. Make it something that audience members can identify with, and give them a reason to want to see that vision come to fruition.

Use empathy, not ego

Leaders and speakers who focus on themselves, talking about their great accomplishments, can easily lose an audience. Instead, focus on the audience. Use your speech to show empathy and caring for others. When you care about people, they are more likely to care about you in return. When you show this in an authentic and believable way, it can create trust, respect, and connection.


Don’t be afraid to show your weaknesses

We all have weaknesses, no matter how powerful, confident or rich we are. There are things that make us vulnerable, and as a leader you must be willing to admit that you’re not invincible. Your audience will certainly appreciate your humane side, and some will even sympathize with you. The business world is one tough environment, yet it is important to make your subordinates follow you. The best way to do that is to show them that you’re a genuine individual, with great morals and ethics.

Companies should consider hiring event speakers to motivate and inspire employees. Not every entrepreneur is a great leader, especially since it’s not that easy to speak in public and make an audience listen. It’s pretty amazing how influential can an orator be; however, to help and motivate you and your employees, he has to be experienced, speak from the heart and offer solid, sensible advice.

This is the guest post by Jason Phillips and!

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Learning about excellence from C. F. Martin – Wally Bock

Martin GAnother thoughtful post from Wally Bock

The airport shuttle was packed with musicians and vendors in town for the International Music Products convention where I would be speaking. Across from me were two young men who, it seemed, hadn’t seen each other since the last convention.

“So, how’s it going?” one asked.

“Great! Lottsa work, and the money’s good. I can finally get my Martin.”

In case you need a translation, “Martin” is a guitar manufactured by C. F. Martin. They’ve been making guitars with “steadfast adherence to high standards of musical excellence” since the first C. F. Martin set up shop in the new world in 1833.

Here’s how they put their principles in the preface to the 1904 catalog.

“How to build a guitar to give this tone is not a secret. It takes care and patience. Care in selecting the materials, laying out the proportions, and attending to the details which add to the player’s comfort. Patience in giving the necessary time to finish every part. A good guitar cannot be built for the price of a poor one, but who regrets the extra cost for a good guitar?”

Excellence is a generous but demanding master. Sometimes even your efforts at improvement can threaten to compromise your principles.

The current CEO is Chris Martin, the sixth generation of his family to head the company. Soon after he took over in 1986, he brought in an outside expert to help the company formalize its quality program.

One day, the consultant, named Vince, walked into Chris’ office and said, “Chris, people work really hard here, and I keep telling them, ‘Hey, we’re not trying to make the perfect guitar!’”

Chris Martin’s reply tells you everything you need to know about C. F. Martin and the pursuit of excellence.

‘”Vince,” Martin said, “we are trying to make the perfect guitar.”

Here’s Wally’s original

LeaderValues August Newsletter – Rose Valland biography, 3 Questions to ask your team every week

Rose VallandClick here to see this month’s LeaderValues newsletter 

Having recently watched (and enjoyed greatly) the movie Monuments Men, this month’s leadership biography, by Victoria Yates, is on Rose Valland,  a relatively unsung hero of the French Resistance in WWII.

Rose was instrumental in cataloging artworks looted by the Nazis, and her bravery was portrayed in 1964’s The Train and most recently in Monuments Men.

The featured article is 3 Questions You Must Ask Your Team Weekly, a practical guide to keeping things focused and on track in thsi age of rapid change and continual distractions. Külli Koort is the marketing director of Weekdone, a start-up that builds employee status reporting tool based on popular management methodologies like PPP and OKR.


3 Questions You Must Ask Your Team Weekly – Külli Koort



Leaders often get caught up with their own daily responsibilities. While the time deficit is becoming more pressing and the team’s needs are growing, there is one simple change to implement that makes your employees feel heard and improve your decision-making.

If there are few things we can’t change, its these facts that:

  • There are 1440 minutes in everyone’s day. Not a minute more and not a minute less.
  • There is a tidal wave of information and it keeps on growing.

Therefore, with the limited amount of time and the huge amount of data, how to spot the most crucial information with minimum effort?

It’s about asking the right questions and getting the necessary information for your everyday decision-making. You probably already have a world-class team, now you need a world class communication and collaboration process.

One such method is called the PPP process, or sometimes referred as the Progress, Plans and Problems. It is used by companies like Skype and eBay for recurring status reporting. As Cleve Gibbon, CTO at Cognifide has said:

“PPP reports communicate three essential facts about an ongoing project: progress, problems and plans. These are both informal and informative”

- Cleve Gibbon, CTO at Cognifide – The Power of P

So, which are the three essential questions to ask from your team-members weekly?

1. What are your biggest achievements for the past week?

This part reflects the first P in the PPP process – the progress. These are your employees’ individual accomplishments for the period ending. This section is something your employees should be most proud of by containing activities that are directed towards future goals. In order to have an overall picture, it’s crucial that everyone limits their answers to key achievements.

2. What are you going to do next?

This part communicates the future plans, or the second P if you may. These are the objectives for the next reporting period. Activities, tasks or items that need to be done and moved to progress. Writing these key activities down is crucial for every team-member, since it makes the executor committed to the task. In the long run, it’s all about the ability to prioritize and carry your plans through.

3. What challenges are you facing?

The third P, problems, communicate the tasks or items that your employees have planned, but aren’t able to finish. In an open and trustworthy environment, this is the perfect part for feedback and guidance. When team members are encouraged to answer this question honestly, it creates an amazing opportunity to spot the disasters before they escalade. So, don’t fire away with harsh comments, instead listen and recognize these brave people.

How to get maximum benefit out of these questions?

Asking these questions is easy, but in order to get actionable data and great overview, a more thorough procedures are required.

Overall, there are various methods how you could put PPP work for your team. First option is to ask every team member send a weekly email that includes answers to these three questions. This is the quickest solution, yet it fails to give a good overview of the whole team. Secondly, you could make one spreadsheet for individual use. But as the information compiles period after period, it gets harder to manage the data and tougher to spot the key learnings. What is more, as the time passes people might forget to update their plans, progress and problems on time. The third solution is to use an online status reporting tool, like Weekdone, that is based on the PPP system. The advantage is that each week, you get automatically compiled report bringing the crucial data together and keeping you always in the loop.

Whichever way you choose to go, it’s important to stay persistent and ask these valuable questions on a regular base. Make a pleasurable habit out of it and not an annoying duty by giving feedback to your employees based on their reports. This will make them feel heard and that their progress truly matters.

Author bio: Külli Koort is the marketing director of Weekdone, a startup that builds employee status reporting tool based on popular management methodologies like PPP and OKR. You can connect with her and the Weekdone team on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.