Speaking the Same Old Way Doesn’t Serve You Well

I was at the dentist yesterday having an old filling replaced.  The very anticipation of it brought back some painful childhood memories. But this time was different.  To my relief, there was less drilling. Far less. 

When I remarked on it, my dentist explained that there is a new wisdom in dentistry today. They now know that the old practice of drilling can cause more harm than good. Thankfully, my dentist has kept up-to-date since she graduated from dentistry 30 years ago. She adopted the new wisdom, and my experience was much less painful for it.

I realized that the same is true of speaking. Communication has changed dramatically, even in the past few years, and there is new wisdom on how to speak. Recent research has disproved the effectiveness of most of the old practices. Yet time after time, we hear people speak the same old way, oblivious to the fact that others in the room have tuned out.  As a result, speaking is largely a painful experience for speakers and audiences alike. 

It certainly doesn’t have to be. In fact, if you’re an executive leader, you’re doing yourself and all of your stakeholders a great disservice if you still speak the way you learned early in your career. Sounding like the “same old, same old” doesn’t do your leadership or your audience justice. You will not be able to convince others to think or act in the ways necessary to further your leadership goals and objectives — because you’ll have lost them at “hello”.   

As a leader, do you even want to sound like everybody else? Sounding the same would make you just as ineffective as everybody else.  And what does that say about your leadership?  Sounding the same as everyone else also means you won’t stand out, and nor will what you have to say. It’s tough enough to break through all the clutter in people’s brains.   

Expectations are so low when it comes to speeches and presentations that people almost expect to suffer in misery each time. The good news though is that when you sound different from others — right out of the gate — you gain an immediate advantage as peoples’ brains register the difference. You’ll get their attention, at least initially. And then you have to keep it.

To do that, you have to apply the new wisdom. There is a distinct way in which leaders need to communicate. It is proven to enable you to speak so that others listen, understand and respond. The new principles and practices, when learned and applied, will make you stand out from the rest of the pack. And more importantly, enable you to have greater influence and impact each time you speak.

I’ll share some of the new wisdom in future blogs. For now, I invite you to take our 3-minute Quiz on Leadership Communication to assess your own capability or that of other leaders in your organization. Your answers and scores are completely anonymous so only you know the results. You’ll find the quiz on the home page of our website. Here’s the link: