When was the last time you tried to talk to someone new, and have him/her not only miss your point completely but also be turned off by you? No, I’m not just talking about work I’m also referring to something that may have happened in your personal life.
Now while you recall that memory, let me draw your focus towards the idea of ‘how a leader communicates.’
Well, a leader (whether a public figure or someone you know personally) is a person just like you and me. The difference is, he/she very early on figured out how to communicate an idea or thought in a way that connects with the people that they talk to.
Right now you’re thinking about a few people. And you’re drawing comparisons to yourself.
Well, If we were to break down how they communicate, it’s always going to come down to Trust, Charisma, and Influence.
TRUST: You can’t sell anything to anyone if you can’t build trust! And trust in communication is all about relatability.
To put that into simple terms,
it’s making the people who are receiving the information from you to think that you know what it’s like to be them! Therefore, listening to you can help them become like you!
CHARISMA: People need to like you to want a relationship with you. Likeability ensures long-term investment in you and your idea.
While a relationship can be defined in so many different ways, in the context of being charismatic,
it is making another person like you enough to want to invest his/her time (personal investment) in getting to know you, understand what you do and
keep investing his/her time on a long-term basis.
INFLUENCE: Is the call-to-action trigger. Ultimately, people should want to follow you and the course of action that you convey.
Once you’ve successfully established the elements of ‘Trust’ and
‘Charisma’, then it’s time to wield ‘influence’. This is done by
introducing the idea or the purpose of your communication.
Influence is essentially making a person want to pursue a
course of action as communicated by you, because he/she associates some
form of value in doing so.
I’m going to end with this video, where Jack Ma – The Founder of Ali Baba & a billionaire, gives a talk on ‘How to become a Billionaire.’ This is a 30-minute video, where Jack Ma gives a passionate and inspiring talk on the subject of ‘creating your own opportunities’. However, in the interest of this article, I’d ask you to focus on the first 5 minutes!
Now, let’s look at some facts that may intimidate an ordinary individual from believing what he’s telling him/her.
- He is already a Billionaire.
- He’s a public figure with millions of followers.
- He already wields a considerable amount of influence.
The First 5 Minutes:
I had written an article some time ago called 5- minute conversations that explore the idea of building rapport in under 5 minutes. Which is why I asked you to focus on the first 5-minutes of the video because Jack Ma is following some of the principles discussed in that article. To put that into perspective, it doesn’t matter who you are. When talking to a group of people (especially people who don’t know you), you have the first 5 minutes to establish a connection before they ‘tune out.’
In the video, Jack Ma starts off by talking about his failures and struggles! He effectively re-introduces himself to the audience (and to us), by making us look past ‘ whom he is today’ (the facts mentioned above) and getting us acquainted to whom he used to be – ‘a man who was looking for a job.’ This is establishing Trust by reliability. The idea that we and everyone else at the talk, relate to the idea of ‘ a man looking for a job’ (because we have all been there) rather than intimidate us with the idea of a billionaire, public figure, who already wields a considerable amount of influence within society (which many of us do not have experience with.
He continues by making jokes at his expense, by quoting the example of wanting to work at KFC, wanting to work with the police and him being the only person rejected out of all the people that applied or appeared for the interview. Now, these jokes may seem self-deprecating and you can hear people laughing. However, they are not laughing at him-they are laughing with him. By talking about his failures and making fun of himself, he is showcasing his personality (something personal) to everyone. It is a mix of humility and attitude -‘That he is a person who can take a joke, fun to be around and humble about who he is’. Now you tell me, who wouldn’t like a person like that or have some form of a relationship with him (in other words, incite personal investment).
It’s finally at the 4-minute 10-second mark, where he introduces the subject of the ‘discussion’. After he has taken the time to get the audience (and us) acquainted with him. Now we are fully on board with he has to say, and chances are most of us are going to listen to him and follow the course of action suggested by him!
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Originally published at Linkedin