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'Death Came Third...' - Do Leaders Have to be Great Speakers?

Inspector Gadget July 25, 2016 Leadership Blog
Do Leaders Have to be Great Speakers?

This week's blog is a highlight from a full essay: 'Great Leaders Connect' by the Hub's founder Phil Dourado.

In a New York Times survey, people were asked what they feared most.

Death came third.

Walking into a crowded room came second.

Public speaking came first.

That's from Andy Lopiata and Peter Roper's book '... and Death Came Third'.

Most managers worry about their ability to stand up and move a crowd. But, you don’t have to be a natural public speaker to connect and communicate effectively.

  • Richard Branson dropped the microphone, jumped off the stage, and ran into the audience to get away, the first time he was called to give a big speech.
  • Jack Welch stammers.
  • Branson occasionally does, too.
  • Marcus Buckingham, a great orator, used to stammer, too, and says he still feels so sick he almost throws up before going on stage.

It doesn’t matter if you are not slick. It only matters that you are authentic: people want to hear from the real you. Leadership is personal.

Connect personally with people – let the real you out

“Your job is to touch everyone and get into their souls. Every moment you are at your desk, you are useless.” – Jack Welch

You don't have to be a great speaker to make great connections.

Rapport is the one-to-one ability to connect. Natural projection is the ability to get past the artificiality of standing on a stage or talking into a TV camera and still connect on a personal level. Daniel Goleman says the ability to connect with people one-to-one or one-to-many requires emotional resonance – empathy – and says it is the prime requirement of leaders today. Hence his phrase Primal leadership.

Make sure you're getting 360 feedback – ask ‘how am I doing?’ from your boss, peers and reports (and expect and act on honest answers) to get the input you need to connect more effectively with people.

© Phil Dourado. See the full article on EvanCarmichael.com.

Phil Dourado

Phil Dourado is The Leadership Hub founder. He's the author of two leadership books. Phil and his team run an online leadership community of practice for one of the world's largest companies.