The great inventor Thomas Edison once said that genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.
Since there are many people perspiring these days (due to global warming perhaps) without really doing anything good actually since they lack inspiration, then the world must be full of geniuses!
But I’m quite sure that’s not what Edison meant when he made that quote.
However, it seems many people worldwide are spending their mortal lives without inspiration to guide them to the pursuit of the ideal life.
According to a recent poll conducted by Maritz Research, only 10 percent of American workers look forward to going to work and most point to a lack of leadership as the reason why.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, said renowned communications coach and US author Carmine Gallo. All business leaders have the power to inspire, motivate, and positively influence the people in their professional lives, he said.
For the past year, Gallo has been interviewing renowned leaders, entrepreneurs, and educators who have an extraordinary ability to sell their vision, values, and themselves. He researched their communications secrets in his new book, “Fire Them Up.”
What he found were seven techniques that people can easily adopt in their own professional communications with their employees, clients, and investors.
Here are the seven techniques:
1. Demonstrate enthusiasm — constantly. Inspiring leaders have an abundance of passion for what they do. You cannot inspire unless you’re inspired yourself. Period. Passion is something that cannot be taught. You either have passion for your message or you don’t. Once you discover your passion, make sure it’s apparent to everyone within your professional circle.
2. Articulate a compelling course of action. Inspiring leaders craft and deliver a specific, consistent, and memorable vision. A goal such as “we intend to double our sales by this time next year,” is not inspiring. Neither is a long, convoluted mission statement destined to be tucked away and forgotten in a desk somewhere. A vision is a short (usually 10 words or less), vivid description of what the world will look like if your product or service succeeds.
Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer once said that shortly after he joined the company, he was having second thoughts. Bill Gates and Gates’ father took Ballmer out to dinner and said he had it all wrong. They said Ballmer saw his role as that of a bean counter for a startup. They had a vision of putting a computer on every desk, in every home. That vision — a computer on every desk, in every home — remains consistent to this day. The power of a vision set everything in motion.
3. Sell the benefit. Always remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them. Gallo says in his first class at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, he was taught to answer the question, “Why should my readers care?” Gallo says that’s the same thing you need to ask yourself constantly throughout a presentation, meeting, pitch, or any situation where persuasion takes place. Your listeners are asking themselves, what’s in this for me? Answer it. Don’t make them guess.
4. Tell more stories. Inspiring leaders tell memorable stories. Few business leaders appreciate the power of stories to connect with their audiences. A few weeks ago Gallo recalls that he was working with one of the largest producers of organic food in America. He says he couldn’t recall most, if any, of the data they used to prove organic is better.
But he remembers a story a farmer told. The farmer said when he worked for a conventional grower, his kids could not hug him at the end of the day when he got home. His clothes had to be removed and disinfected. Now, his kids can hug him as soon as he walks off the field.
No amount of data can replace that story. And now, guess what Gallo thinks whenever he see the organic section in any local grocery store? The farmer’s story. Stories connect with people on an emotional level. Tell more of them.
5. Invite participation. Inspiring leaders bring employees, customers, and colleagues into the process of building the company or service. This is especially important when trying to motivate young people. The command and control way of managing is over. Instead, today’s managers solicit input, listen for feedback, and actively incorporate what they hear. Employees want more than a paycheck. They want to know that their work is adding up to something meaningful.
6. Reinforce an optimistic outlook. Inspiring leaders speak of a better future. Robert Noyce, the co-founder of Intel INTC, said, “Optimism is an essential ingredient of innovation. How else can the individual favor change over security?”
Extraordinary leaders throughout history have been more optimistic than the average person. Winston Churchill exuded hope and confidence in the darkest days of World War II. Colin Powell said that optimism was the secret behind Ronald Reagan’s charisma. Powell also said that optimism is a force multiplier, meaning it has a ripple effect throughout an organization. Speak in positive, optimistic language. Be a beacon of hope.
7. Encourage potential. Inspiring leaders praise people and invest in them emotionally. Richard Branson has said that when you praise people they flourish; criticize them and they shrivel up. Praise is the easiest way to connect with people. When people receive genuine praise, their doubt diminishes and their spirits soar. Encourage people and they’ll walk through walls for you.
By inspiring your listeners, you become the kind of person people want to be around. Customers will want to do business with you, employees will want to work with you, and investors will want to back you. It all starts with mastering the language of motivation, according to Gallo.
Hey, Mr. Gallo, you’re a great guy!
We humans are truly awesome beings in the Universe. We have the power even to shape the moods, the minds and the destiny of other humans.