Speak to Lead

As you watch the U.S. political debates you can see who is a good speaker and who is a great speaker. Hillary Clinton is a good speaker. She has confidence and commands the platform. She demonstrates good delivery skills.
But there is one thing missing.

Mitt Romney looks like a president. If you turn down the volume and observe his good looks, well-fitting suit, and confident gestures, you would identify him as a leader.
But there is one thing missing.

Fred Thompson is not a good speaker. He takes too long to get to the point. Even though he may have sound ideas, if your eyes glaze over, the message gets lost.

Rudy Guiliani is a clear speaker with a focused message. And Mike Huckabee is master of the soundbite. He's a clear communicator who speaks in quotable quotes. It's easy to remember his message points.

Barak Obama is a great speaker. He has one thing that Fred, Hillary and Mitt lack. It's the one thing that mitigates his lack of experience.
He CONNECTS with his audience.

Yes, great speakers connect with their audience by talking with them, not at them. By talking from the heart and not just the head. By sharing stories not just statistics. By saying "we," not "I." By inspiring hope, not policies. By promoting humanity and not perfection.

Great speakers and leaders believe in a vision bigger than themselves and expect greatness from their followers. Optimism is contagious.

So whether you're a politician, a pastor, an executive or a leader of any kind, remember that your words inspire. Speak from the other person's experience and perspective and then raise the bar. Take them on a journey from what is to what can be. Speak to Lead.