Monday, January 5, 2009

Take Command of a Room

Azriela Jaffe

The Book of Lists ranks the fear of public speaking before the fear of death. For many of us, the thought of addressing a packed house can be nerve wracking, if not paralyzing. If the thought of standing behind a podium, taking the chair at the end of a conference table, or even presenting ideas to a client leaves you feeling weak in the knees, there is help. Dr. Dilip Abayaekara has coached everyone from Pentagon top-brass, U.N. officials and corporate CEO's on how to conquer their fears and deliver stand-out speeches. Take ten tips from Dr. Dilip on how to take your ego out of the equation and focus on your audience. It just might be the perfect recipe to banish all those public speaking jitters once and for all.

1. Speak to express, not impress.

2. Focus on blessing, not impressing.

3. The "U" (you) comes before the "I" in "public" speaking.

4. Every "I" story must have a "you" message.

5. Every member of the audience is tuned into the radio station "WIIFM"-What's In It For Me".

6. When you go fishing, do you bait the hook with what you like to eat or what the fish likes to eat? Talk about the interests and needs of your audience, not simply what interests you.

7. An effective public speaker is so busy being audience-centered, he/she has no time to be self-centered.

8. Fear of public speaking stems from the fear of being judged: if you recognize the fear you can eliminate it.

9. The love of public speaking stems from the desire to impart something of value to your audience and the belief that you have something valuable to give.

10. The most important speech you will give is the one for which you are preparing; the most important audience you will ever have is yourself.


The Power of Execution

Many CEOs of big companies fail not because they lack vision, but due to bad execution. Since we are at the beginning of year 2009, I believe all of us desire to se a breakthrough in our life this year. Some of us already have 2009 resolutions on paper, so it’s time to put them to action. Here are some guidelines to make them happen.

The Big Idea. This is the vision part, and it's where we start. This is the habit that Stephen Covey called "Begin with the end in mind." What is it you want to accomplish? Your idea should be big. It should be inspiring and generate enthusiasm. A small idea won't move anyone anywhere, and you won't get anything done as a small-minded leader. What is your big idea for 2009?

Strategy. In other words, how are you going to get there? Your strategy is your plan. It is how you will get the job done. It is one thing to say you want to double revenue—who doesn't? It is another to develop a plan and strategy to do so. What is your strategy for achieving your vision in 2009?

Consistent, Effective Communication. Once you have your vision and you have your strategy for achieving your vision, you have to drive them through your organization to every level so everyone knows the vision and the strategy. Without consistent and effective communication, your vision and strategy are worthless. They will just be framed statements that hang in the boardroom and grace the cover of your annual report. Most leaders under-communicate by a huge factor. What I have found is that leaders say something a few times and they think everyone must get it, so they stop saying it.

What they don't realize is that the followers don't get it after a few times. We live in a very complex world with way too much communication, and our message gets lost in all that garble. Unless you are the one in a thousand, let me tell you: You are under-communicating your vision and strategy. You need to keep saying it and saying it and saying it. And when you are done saying it, say it some more. Say it in person, say it on the phone, say it in e-mail, say it on video, say it at your meetings and say it on your conference calls. Got it? Say it!

Take Action. The next important step: You must take action. Your employees and followers must take action. Knowing what to do and not doing it is one of the travesties of the human condition. It is as old as humanity itself. One ancient writer said "The things I want to do, I do not do." We all can relate to that! When it all boils down, you are left with some who act and some who don't.

What separates the successful leader from the unsuccessful leader? Why is it that some succeed and others fail? There have been thousands of books written and seminars given to answer that question, but when it comes down to it, there are some who take action and execute and some who don't. Those who do, succeed.

Review Regularly. I have a friend who is always saying, "Plan, do, review," and "Inspect what you expect." He is one of the sharpest business people I know and his businesses thrive. He regularly goes back both by himself and with his employees and reviews where they are and where they are going. He holds himself and his employees accountable to the vision they have and the actions they are taking to get there.

Do you want to improve your leadership this year and make it your best year ever?

Then follow these guidelines:

· Develop your compelling and inspiring vision.
· Create your well-thought-out plan and strategy.
· Communicate that vision and strategy consistently and effectively.
· Take daily action on your strategic plan and make sure your followers do likewise.
· Review your vision, strategy, communication and actions regularly.

In a nutshell, that is execution. It isn't rocket science. Actually, it is relatively simple. Yet it is very often the simple stuff that trips us up. Execution is simple. It is hard, but it is simple.
As you begin 2009, ask yourself whether you have a vision problem, or an execution problem. Figuring out which is which, and acting upon it, will change your leadership—and your life—forever. Here's to a fantastic 2009!

(excerpts from Chris Widener, "Creating and Communicating your strategy are keys to your success.")