I’ve just finished reading Fank Luntz’s new book Win, the key principles to take your business from ordinary to extraordinary by Dr. Frank I.luntz. Luntz wrote the book Words that Work that every trial lawyer should read. Here are a few of the things I thought worth sharing.
He quotes Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz: “I don’t think God put us on this earth to be ordinary. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it. Show me someone who has done something worthwhile and I’ll show you someone who has overcome adversity… Remember, most people don’t care about your problems, and the rest are glad you have them.”
You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and what you say first colors everything that follows. Your first sentence, first thought, first idea, or first impression is by far the most important. Too many people spend their time focused on their final conclusion. In most cases if you blow your opening, no one will be listening when you finish.
First words build first impressions – impressions you only have a few precious seconds to make.: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… I’m dreaming of a white Christmas” These are powerful first impressions – powerful, concise, visual statements that grab your attention. The first step is to find the fact or figures that everybody agrees on – the words, phrases, and messages that break through the distraction and grab attention. Second. enumerate plainly. It is important to enumerate your points as you make them. This accomplishes two objectives. First, it builds your credibility and second, it holds your audiences attention as they wait to hear your next point.
Don’t mistake volume for enthusiasm. Shouting is one of the worst mistakes communicators make in trying to demonstrate passion. Nobody wants to be yelled at, even when they agree with you. The most passionate and persuasive people speak the softness when it matters the most. Remember passion and clarity must go hand in hand. Clear, concise communication will instill more passion than confusing technical terms.
Be people centered. Project: I’m listening; I hear you; I get it; I respect you; you are in control; you decide.
Words that communicate passion include:
(1) imagine –
(2) let me fight for you
(3) believe and better
(6) life is an adventure – will you join me?
The physical delivery is as important as the verbal message. Avoid podiums. Outstretch your arms to embrace the audience. Don’t use a prepared text. Voice volume variation is essential. Passionate presentations can be quiet. Drop your voice when the message is important and then rise to a crescendo to indicate the eye of an idea. Never shout – that is fake passion. The speech must have a cadence. Words that rhyme or have the same number of syllables or the reputation of a word three or more times are engaging and motivating ways. Tell a story. Passion requires more than just a beginning, middle, and it requires verbal illustration and metaphors and needs human context.
If you want to emphasize something, pause before and after the important thing you want to say. If something is really important, lower your voice. People listen more carefully when you talk softly.
The language that demonstrates principles includes these words: accountability; strict standards; moral compass; social responsibility; objective and unbiased; uncompromising integrity; the simple truth and say what you mean and mean what you say.