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Leadership Skills: the Language of Leadership

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Posted 14 July 2015 by Chris FarmerChris Farmer

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You may find the following will help you with the development your leadership and management skills training.

The Language of Leadership

You may have noticed that leaders speak differently to non-leaders. Leaders are usually good with words.

If you were to make a list of the 20 greatest leaders, and then make another list of the 20 greatest communicators, you would find many names appeared on both lists.

Obama. Thatcher. Martin Luther King. Winston Churchill. Ghandi. Mandela. Reagan. Clinton. Even Adolf Hitler were all leaders, who were great communicators.

And in the business realm Donald Trump and Richard Branson are incessantly communicating their personalities and their corporate image to the rest of us.

If you want to be a better leader, then one of the best things you could do, would be to study language.

I don't mean, "Study foreign languages". I mean, study how to make the best use of your own language. There are methods that you can learn that will enable you become to a better orator.

You could study techniques that would improve your power to influence the minds of others. Here are three such methods.

  1. Triade.
  2. Questions.
  3. Antithesis.

1 Triade

Triade is the verbal method of boxing your message into groups of three. The human mind seems to like the number three, and it likes messages that contain three elements. Here are some examples of triades.

I came, I saw, I conquered.

The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.

Friends, Romans, Countrymen.

Government of the people, by the people, for the people.

Sex, drugs and rock and roll.

Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein Führer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.

Do you get the idea?

The mind loves to hear the rhythm of three beats in the bar. Like a waltz. 1. 2. 3, 1. 2. 3, 1. 2. 3.

If you can inject this rule of three, into your speech, you will come up with some great lines. Your speech will capture, convince and entertain your listeners.

2. Questions

Using questions is a terrific method to improve your speech. Why does asking questions work so well?

Because your mind is continually asking and answering questions. Asking and answering a series of questions is the process of thought. Your first thought in the morning is:

What time is it? Then you ask: Do I need to get up now? or can I have a few more minutes in bed? Then, what should I wear today?

Then later, you are asking and answering questions all day long. "What should I do first?" "What do we need to do about this?"

Thinking is the act of asking and answering questions. So if you want to engage the others mind and imagination, then what could be better than asking questions?

Ask the people a question and you will gain their attention.

Example of the use of questions:

Winston Churchill: "You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory, victory at all costs."

Monty Python: "What have the Romans ever done for us?"

Finally, one cannot discuss the use of questions without mentioning John F. Kennedy's inaugural address and his famous words, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

3. Antithesis

Antithesis is the art of saying first X, then its opposite, Y.

Here are some one liners.

"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." Neil Armstrong.

"We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools." Martin Luther King.

"The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here." Abraham Lincoln.

"You turn if you want to. The Lady is NOT for turning" Margaret Thatcher.

Here is how Winston Churchill used antithesis in an extended fashion.

Negative: The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war.

Positive: If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

Negative: But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age, made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of a perverted science.

Positive: Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves so that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say,

Super positive: "This was their finest hour." Can you see how using antithesis and using opposites, can make your speech more interesting, engaging and inspiring?

Use these three methods consciously, and you will soon notice that you are getting better results.

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