Anyone can be a leader


Do you have a heart? A brain? Eyes? Mouth?

Then I say you have everything you need to be a leader.

Are you willing to accept yourself and others? Can you help someone else do the same?

When you take the time to discover and develop the gifts and talents you’ve been giving, you open yourself up to helping others do the same. When you use these gifts, you become more confident. Confidence draws others to you, which allows you to help them grow.

Do you enjoy others? Do you appreciate their differences? Real leaders recognize the need for a multi-layered team. Each person adds a unique point of view and skill set. It’s not a competition. It’s about creating a desired outcome.

Can you develop a positive attitude? We all have bad days, but do you have a bad life? The way you think determines the way you look at people, the way you talk and the way you do your job. Positive attitudes draw positive expectations.

Cultivate your creativity. See things differently. Appreciate beauty in all things. It’s up to you to get the most out of every opportunity or environment you encounter. Create your own opportunities and create the change you seek.

Our greatest glory is not in failing, but in rising every time we fail. Every success if built on a failure. Can you recognize that failure is not the end? That it isn’t defeat? You have to cherish each learning lesson.

Are you clear on your values? Do you have a set of moral or spiritual values you believe? Do your actions meet those beliefs?

Leaders set goals and make a plan. You can’t reach a goal without them. Where are you going? Where are you now? How do you move to the next level? Ask yourself everyday if what you are going is making a positive difference and moving you forward with your plan.

Real leaders are visionaries. Do you see possibilities? Do you see hidden gifts in other people? To be a leader you need to dream.

With a willing attitude and an open heart, we’re each closer to being the kind of leader that can inspire great change and motivate others.

The idea assembly line


In today’s business world, it’s often called brainstorming or focus groups; but I like the assembly line concept. It keeps thoughts moving forward and allows others to contribute to the success. Ideas only become reality when they are fleshed out. This can be especially useful when developing your story.

Begin with identifying what you are trying to solve. What problem or need does your business fix for your customers? Make sure you have a clear goal in mind.

Anytime you involve a group of people in the process, you need to make sure you have the scene set for success. Include  appropriate stimulus- have music playing, food, inspiration pieces/magazines. All five senses should be stimulated. Use Play-Doh or Nerf balls so that tactile people can have something in their hands.

Use a watch box or device box. All iPhones, Droids, watches, etc… need to be collected and put away. You can set an alarm to know when your scheduled time is compete. That way people aren’t  distracted and focused on the task. You’ll be surprised at how often your group will reach for a phone that isn’t there.

These sessions should last no more than 30 minutes and you should take breaks every 45 min. But no checking phones or emails in the breaks. Make them fun or do something active.

There are no “nos.” When you are initially making lists of ideas, do not say no to anything. It needs to be a safe place to express all ideas and everyone should feel a valued contributor. If anyone makes 3 no remarks, you need to remove them from the meeting. No is the easiest thing to say. (That includes: yes, but…we’ve always done it this way…and we don’t have).

Get at least 40 ideas down. Everything goes. Once you have those, break up into groups of 3-5 people. Now give the list to both groups and have them arrange the ideas into categories. These categories can be: things we can accomplish easily, things we love but just don’t know how to get there, if we combined this and this, etc… Discuss the “why” each idea was generated from. Still no nos.

Now come back together as a group. Compare your categories. Look at everything that can be accomplished easily. Why is it a benefit to the company? To the employees? Decide yes or no as a group- are you going to do it. Assign someone to be the point person in implementing it. Identify other employees who can help. Set a date. Do it.

Now look at the things we loved list. Take them one by one. Identify what need they fill. Talk about what you’d need to make it happen. Is it a budget? Is it a particular skill? Is it training? Now take that list and prioritize. Pick 5 that you’d like to implement. Pick a point person to develop a plan. Set a date to discuss the plan.

Now you have an action plan.

Remember, it’s a success even if you only have one good idea that comes from the meeting. And that success isn’t final until you’ve implemented the plan and motivated the people to participate.



The Golden Rule of 3- and other speech writing tips


I’m going to let you in on the three secrets of speech writing. They are:

  1. Substance, or what you say
  2. Style. How you deliver and the words you choose to use.
  3. Impact . Did the speaker make a difference in the audience? Does it have a call to action?

But before you write the first word, you need to determine the framework surrounding your speech. Is it going to be persuasive or informative? Is it a daytime or evening event? Who will your audience be? Why should they care about your message? How will they benefit from the information you give them?

Will you be giving the speech or are you writing it for someone else? In business, many times you’ll be called upon to write for your CEO.

To successfully write for another speaker, you need access and collaboration with the speaker (CEO). If you don’t have it, you need to ask for it. You need to spend some prep time with this person. How do they gesture? Do they have phrases they naturally use in conversation?

You’ll need: a Pre-draft meeting, a first draft meeting, a revision meeting, rehearsal, and a post speech interview. I suggest having as few people as possible there and make sure you bring your own ideas to the meeting.

Speeches need a formal structure just like an essay. They have an opening, a body, and a closing.

Introductions should be 20 sec to 2 min. It eases your listener into speech. Make sure your information follows a logical order.

Your audience must believe your speaker as well. Do they share an interest? Try sharing something special about you. It will open their curiosity.

A word of warning. Humor is best used carefully. The safest form of humor is for the speaker to make fun of themselves. It’s also the fastest way to lose the audience if an attempt at humor goes bad.

Once you move to the body of the speech, you need to choose one theme or purpose. Tell your audience what you are telling them, tell them again, then tell them that you told them. If your audience can tell you don’t care about them or the topic, they won’t care either.

One of the best forms to use for your speech is the “Golden rule of 3.”

Tell your audience you have three thoughts to share with them. Make sure your most important is the last item told. The next most important idea should be your first one. And finally, the least important should be in the middle because it is often forgotten.

Good speeches use examples. Make sure you round numbers off but don’t use too many stats. People zone out on numbers. Use illustrations. Try to paint a picture for your listener.

The best speechwriters, write for the ear. Speeches are not written to be read. Keep it simple. Use active voice. Use contractions. Vivid verbs are best. Vary your sentence lengths. Avoid jargon. Repetition is key. Ask rhetorical questions. Use personal pronouns. Use alliteration.

You want to be the speaker they remember. If you appear genuine, you’ll be a step closer.

End on strong note. Your closing shouldn’t end with a whimper. You need a strong call to action. It should be brief. Make it a challenge and restate purpose.

Once you’ve got a completed draft, read it aloud. Listen for tongue twisters. Are your ideas clear? Do the transitions flow? Does every word you chose have meaning? If not, delete it.

Now you’re ready to give the speech!  Smile when you give it. Record it.