Volume 149, December 2015: Inspiration

Keyzine: An E-zine for Leaders about the People Side of Business

This is a monthly electronic magazine for anyone who wants to be a better leader, coach, facilitator, or simply, to tune up their people skills. It is a complimentary publication, devoted to the next evolution of Quality Thinking.

Publisher: © Key Associates, 2015 ISSN # 1545-8873

“When we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual. ‘Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.’” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech

How many times have you died a death by PowerPoint or spreadsheet, in front of a corporate audience? Your intention may have been to inform and call to action, get people to work together or lead people into the future – and it fell flat.

Next time, perhaps you decided to hire a professional – a  motivational speaker of sorts – to deliver your message.

You are missing the powerful language of leadership. The ability to first engage your audience, and then, transport them to another place and time, another frame of mind. Now is the time to awaken your own ability to ignite the human spirit of the individual and inspire the organization as a whole.

One of the greatest abilities of a good leader is the gift of Inspiration. Inspiring means literally “to breathe life into.” This can only come from heart-felt communication, one-to-one or one-to-many.

If you undertake an examination of the work of great orators, such as John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Mohandas Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Ronald Reagan, and Barack Obama, you will see the key ingredients to capturing hearts. The work will be:

  • Original, an artist’s rendering
  • Honest and credible
  • Positive, hopeful, and values-linked
  • Vivid with word pictures and images
  • Built on personal conviction
  • Drawn from well-accepted themes (Biblical, historical, cultural …)
  • Inclusive of everyone, moving away from “I” to “We”
  • Conceptual but also sensual
  • Repetitive
  • Rhythmic, with a cadence, crescendo, or a lilt
  • More futuristic than present
  • Built on words that create tension between the truth of current reality and a ideal vision of the future

Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is a vision elevated to poetry, allowing an audience to see freedom, equality, brotherhood. People cannot act genuine – they must authentically believe, from the heart, every passionate word they deliver if they are to inspire.

Practice Point

Build a speech that incorporates all of the above elements and practice it on a friendly audience. Ask for feedback about how it made them feel.


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