Leadership Presence: Express a Passionate Purpose

As a leader, you need to imbue your words, actions and stories with passion and authenticity. Every time you want to communicate a message, incorporate specific, dynamic verbs that characterize your intentions.

I find that many of the leaders I coach are passionate about their work, but they don’t express it sufficiently in everyday communication.

Leaders generally try to explain or relay information. This type of speech lacks energy, passion and/or tension. Instead of using dry, colorless verbs to convey your point, or using whatever corporate buzz words happen to be popular, substitute action words that carry emotional intensity.

For example, don’t “make an announcement to explain upcoming changes.” Instead, “challenge people to make some adjustments” or “overcome obstacles to success.” Focus on what truly matters: your passionate purpose.

Have you ever noticed what happens in a conference room full of people when a speaker starts telling stories? People sit up straight and lean toward the speaker. They put down their smartphones, stop texting and begin to pay attention.

Effective storytelling goes beyond the conference room. The minute your boss tells you a personal story, you listen intently because you’re gaining a glimpse into his or her true passions and personality.

Telling stories helps you express yourself naturally. You don’t need to be an accomplished or trained speaker to come across as genuine and interesting. When you tell a personal story, your voice, body and emotions work in concert to create authenticity. Stories also make great teaching tools and communicate your points more effectively.

You generate emotional responses from your audience, touching both head and heart — a far cry from relying on PowerPoint presentations and ordinary bullet points.

Connect with your inner passions by asking yourself:

  • What am I fighting for?
  • What do others want?
  • What are the obstacles?

Use your answers to choose verbs that capture your passionate purpose.

Never forget that every human interaction — from meetings and presentations to memos and face-to-face conversations — involves needs and desires, real or potential conflicts. These pivotal moments are opportunities to change minds and influence behavior.

Your goal is to identify the desired change or problem to be overcome and invest it with energy and passion.

How do you express your passion at work? I’d love to hear from you!

**Photo credit: Engin Erdogan, used under CC license, no alterations made**

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