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Whether you are a new leader or a seasoned professional on the go, everyone can benefit from adding variety to their conversations.

Follow along as two great communicators and TED Curator Chris Anderson share their secrets — together with nine ways to make them work for you.

An Audience of One or Thousands

Your stories will help audiences of all shapes and sizes remember you. Looking beyond intuition, research by Professor Jennifer Aaker of Stanford University tells us that stories are remembered up to 22 times more than facts alone. 

So how do you get started capturing your audience’s attention? Award-winning author and international speaker Kristin Arnold recommends sharing a personal story. When you deliver a brief story based on your personal experiences, you create Me Too Moments where you share a common experience that your audience, of one or many, may have gone through, or could have to live through.

It is the most sincere form of storytelling because you don’t have to remember the lines; you just have to relive the story.

Do you find yourself running short on time? Or perhaps, you don’t have an original personal story or anecdote to share, that’s okay; you may borrow other people’s stories. For the best results, remember to exercise these practices:

  1.  Cite the source and ask their permission, if at all possible
  2.  Share your personal story about how you encountered the individual or the anecdote.
  3.  Relive the moment when that individual’s wisdom impacted you.
  4.  Relate the idea back to your audience of one or many, so they can apply it to their personal circumstances.

Engagement from the Café to the Boardroom

Gallup reported that U.S. Employee Engagement slipped below 33% in May of 2016 which translates to several billion dollars in lost productivity per year as American business continues to recover lost ground. Which spotlights the continued importance of engagement for leaders in today’s business world.

If you are a leader wondering what steps you can take to win the disengagement battle, follow along as Pamela Jett, global communications expert and recognized author shares tips that you can put to work immediately.

  1. Eliminate the word “should”. Why? If you stop “should-ing” on people (e.g., “you should do this…” or “you shouldn’t do it that way; you should do it like this…”) you will stop using a disengaging form of communication. First and foremost, professionals do not appreciate it when others try to “tell them what to do” and deny them their freedom to choose.

So, instead of using “you should” consider the power of replacing it with one of these options:

  • – It would be better if you did it this way…
  • – The _______ (project, employee handbook, contract) requires you to do it this way…
  • – Our _______ (customer, bottom-line) benefits when you do it this way…

Business planning

  1.  Ditch the word “Don’t” and focus on what you would like them to do instead. Here are two classic examples – replace “Don’t be late” with “Please be on time” or replace “Don’t forget…” with “Please remember….” These are both good examples of sharing what the desired behavior is as opposed to the undesired behavior.
  2.  Which is – Ask open-ended questions. Why is this important? Because using open-ended questions is one of the easiest tools, any leader at any level of the organization can use them, and they are also one of the most effective forms of engaging communication.

   Here are a few of my top open-ended questions:

  • – What are your thoughts on this?
  • – How do you think this will benefit ____ (the team, our customer, the bottom-line)?
  • – How can this be done ____ (better, smarter, faster, more efficiently)?

Jett shares, “I have found that by integrating these and other open-ended questions into my global client’s communication, they are viewed as more open, approachable, and respectful individuals.”

TED Curator Identifies Secret to Take Center Stage

According to TED Curator Chris Anderson, there is no single formula for a great talk. However, over the past 12 years, he has had a ringside seat, listening to many hundreds of amazing speakers and has identified a secret ingredient that all the best TED Talks have in common.

Join Chris Anderson as he shares this secret — together with four ways to make it work for you. Follow this link and find out if you have what it takes to share an idea worth spreading.

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Kelly Isley is an international strategist, business leader, columnist, author, and pilot with more than 21 years of experience in the aerospace, finance, engineering, and healthcare industries. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and covers global workforce, workplace and leadership topics. If you have any suggestions for future articles please contact Kelly via email or twitter.