The Speaking Secret of Inspirational Leaders

November is Inspirational Role Models MonthHave you ever wondered why some leaders are more inspirational than others? Here's the secret. They speak from the inside out. Where most leaders speak about the WHAT and the HOW, leaders who inspire audiences with their message do one thing differently. They speak about the WHY. Steve JobsAn example of this is Steve Jobs of Apple.  His mantra was "Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo." It's his WHY for his company. That's why he inspired a strong cult-like following. His customers are more than buyers. They are believers who want to "think different".

Martin Luther King, Jr SpeaksMartin Luther King wasn't the only leader who believed in civil rights yet he was the one who inspired a national march on Washington. He spoke from his WHY. He didn't talk about facts. He said, "I believe. I have a dream." It became a movement that went beyond the African-American community. It was a universal cause that people could believe in.

Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life, surprised the media with the overwhelming success of his book. His belief that "God Has a Plan for You," tapped into a deep, emotional need regardless of religious orientation. It's a message that is bigger than the individual and people connected emotionally.

We now know the neurological reason these speakers are able to inspire.  When a speaker talks about the WHAT and the HOW, the message appeals to the neocortex of the brain. This is the center of rational thought. People are not generally moved to action by facts and figures.

When you talk from your WHY, you speak directly to the limbic brain. The limbic brain appeals to trust, loyalty, and emotion. People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it.

So, what is your WHY? Why do you do what you do? What do you believe? Think about those leaders who inspire others, whether it's one-on-one or to a large audience.  Who are your inspirational role models?


Click to read BusinessWeek's article: 10 Attributes of Leaders Who Inspire