To Inspire and Influence Think Perform, not Inform

By Dr Diana Theodores



If you want to inspire and influence people then take a tip from the pioneering management guru Charles Handy who once said, “to be successful in business think theatre.”

The world of theatre offers evidence-based, elegant and critical lessons in persuasive communication for business leaders, teams and organisations.

Great performers inspire us because they connect to their words with their voice, body, belief, energy and commitment. They care about communicating. They inspire us because they are authentic, fresh, and they connect to their audience with humanity. They inspire us because they are inspired.

''Did you know that comedians don’t always spontaneously come up with great lines on the spot?''

Performers practice and prepare  so that they can be at their best in the moment, whether scripted or improvising. Did you know that comedians don’t always spontaneously come up with great lines on the spot? The trick is to make it appear as if it is made up on the spot. This is what sets the great performers, comedians and orators apart from the rest, the ability to deliver material in a way that looks spontaneous. Great performers connect with their audience to make them feel something, think something, and experience something that has an impact. And the great news is that this is a skill that can be learned.

 When you are at your best in communicating  great things can happen, that’s when:

  • You connect with your customers and build relationships more effectively
  • Your team feels motivated and empowered
  • Talented people in the organisation’s pipeline raise their visibility
  • You can climb out of your default zone and recharge your presentations when they’ve become “stale, flat and unprofitable”
  • Your team can unlock more creativity, recharge the vision and reinvest in the messages.

Four tips so you can speak to inspire

When it comes to your own performance, what can you do to speak and present your ideas in a way that inspires people to take action? Here are four tips for you:

  1. Be passionate about your subject – science shows that you cannot inspire people unless you are inspired yourself.
  2. Lean down  – less is more so distill your ideas, the more you add in the more people forget.
  3. Be open, authentic and honest – if you pretend to be someone you’re not you’ll fail to gain people’s trust.
  4. Rehearse – Rehearse aloud, not in your head, as this keeps you from investing in your voice!

Find out more information on Cranfield's Impact & Influence programme

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