Five tips from Adam Stones, adapted from his book Influence: Powerful Communications, Positive Change.
Great communicators affect us whether they are on stage, in a video or in an article. They are found in every field, at every level of an organisation. They are defined by their behaviour not their job title, by their promise of the future not by their past. But what is it that they are doing to really grab hold of us and inspire us? Here are five tips anyone can follow to cut through the noise and change the way people think, feel and act.
1: Be purposeful
Put ‘why’ at the centre of all your communications. If your message is authentically driven by a bigger cause and relates to a clear vision for the future, people will better connect with it. Powerful communicators don’t tell us what to do, they make us want to do it.
2: Be personal
Develop an empathetic understanding of your audience if you want to inspire them. Then show how your message is not about you but about what you can do for them. Support this by finding ‘the others’, all the people who will help you along the way (collaborators, funders, mentors, connectors).
3: Be distinct
Build a strong personal brand to ensure your communications are catchy, credible and consistent. Your brand will become a magnet, bringing people to your mission by making your value clear. And when doing this it's essential to remember that just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so is your brand. You need to work to shape that perception constantly.
4: Be active
Don’t wait for change, lead it. Push people out of their inertia by revealing the problems of the status quo and pull them past their anxiety of change by showing the benefits of acting. Move people from being unaware to acting and then advocates, and then harness the power of your new tribe to influence others.
5: Be skilled
Review, reflect and rebuild your approach regularly. Preparation and practice will ensure conviction and confidence. Constantly build core communications skills in areas of body language, speaking (on stage and in person), PR and writing. And never be afraid to make mistakes - they can become your greatest teacher.
All of these tips need to be embraced, developed and applied collectively if you want to have the greatest chance of success yourself. By following them you will become a more effective leader of purposeful change. And the world could certainly do with a few more of those right now.
Check out more info on the book (which includes a canvas to guide you through these five tips) here.