Volume 20, November 2002: “Speaking From the Heart”

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

Publisher: © Key Associates, LLC, 2002 ISSN # 1545-8873

“What is not in a man cannot come out of him surely.” — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

“Drawing is speaking to the eye; talking is painting to the ear.” — Joseph Joubert

“Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” — Mother Teresa

“Language most shows a man; speak that I may see you.” — Ben Johnson, Explorata


  • What’s Hot in Leadership
  • Maintaining Yourself as a Leader
  • Frequently Asked Questions from Leaders
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Useful Websites & Newsletters
  • Articles/Publications

What’s Hot in Leadership

  • Leaders recruit followers through speech and action. They “walk their talk.” Everything leaders do and don’t do speaks volumes.
  • Speaking is about serving the needs of your audience, putting other people first. Re-centering your attention in this way loosens obsession with self – the root of social anxiety.
  • Speaking authentically builds trust through genuine, heartfelt communication.
  • Conversations from the heart are liberating because they remove the weight of disguise.
  • Too much flash detracts from your message. Allow your media to enhance your meaning.

Maintaining Yourself as a Leader

Among the perils of public life as a leader, is that you will be called upon to deliver a perfectly formed set of thoughts, totally out of the blue. Just knowing this is enough to cause anticipatory dread. Here are a few tips for when you find yourself on that spot:

  • Organize quickly. Brainstorm 3 ideas.
  • Use organizers like past/present/future or opening/body/conclusion or what you will say/say it/then review.
  • Buy time. Use the audience to build ideas.
  • Tell a story.
  • If you're stumped, (1) address an issue or sub-issue that you are comfortable with, (2) reframe the question, or (3) just start talking and brainstorm out loud.

Frequently Asked Questions

“What if I don't have all the answers?”
You never will. It is probably more valuable to have the right questions. The most daring communicators go armed with a question and a process for drawing our others’ ideas.
“What are the most helpful tools in this undertaking?”
Try buzz groups, open space technology, appreciative inquiry, future search, collective visioning – to name a few.
“Story-telling is touted as a powerful communication tool. Any tips?”
Inspiring means literally “to breathe life into.” This can only come from heart-felt communication. In your stories:
  • Paint with word pictures. Allow people to see themselves in the story.
  • Draw on your convictions. Passion will arise from personal truth.
  • Use language that is inclusive. “We.”
  • Be brief.
  • Be simple. Stories speak to the child in us.
  • Motion attracts the eye. Use your facial expression and gestures to enhance the delivery.
  • Organize around one theme or lesson (the moral of the story).


Key Associates offers facilitation in large group processes– future search, mediation of conflict, workout sessions, collective visioning. We also offer leadership training, a portion of which is dedicated to “New Ways of Communication” described here. See Courses: Courses

Learn about the process of public speaking from Allyn and Bacon Public Speaking Website

Apply the rules of improvisation to business: Chicago Comedy Company

Useful Websites & Newsletters

Tips from the premier public speaking organization: 10 Tips for Public Speaking

Page of links and on-line articles: Public Speaking Websites

Strategic story-telling and personal coaching: MessageMastery

Articles and free e-zine: Advanced Public Speaking Institute


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  • Bolton, Robert. People Skills . New York: Touchstone, 1979.
  • Bunker, Barbara Benedict & Alban, Billie T. Large Group Interventions: Engaging the Whole System for Rapid Change. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1997.
  • Conrad, C. Strategic Organizational Communication . New York: Holt, Rinchart, and Winston, 1985.
  • Hall, Edward T. The Hidden Dimension . Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1966.
  • Hammond, Sue Annie & Royal, Cathy. Lessons from the Field: Applying Appreciative Inquiry. Plano, TX: Practical Press, 1998.
  • Haney, William V. Communication and Organizational Behavior . Homewood, IL: Richard D. Irwin, Inc., 1973.
  • Knapp, Mark L. Nonverbal Communication in Human Interaction . New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1978.
  • Mehrabian, Albert. Silent Messages . Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1971.
  • Pfeffer, Jeffrey & Sutton, R.I. The smart-talk trap. Harvard Business Review . May-June 1999.
  • Reardon, K. Interpersonal Communication: Where Minds Meet . Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1987.
  • Sandwith, Paul. Building quality into communications. Training & Development . January, 1994, 55-60.
  • Rogers, Carl R. & Roethlisberger, F.J. Barriers and Gateways to Communication. Harvard Business Review . November-December, 1991, 105-111.
  • Weaver, Carl H. Human Listening: Processes and Behavior . New York: Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1972.
  • Weisbord, Marvin R. & Janoff, Sandra. Future Search: An Action Guide to Finding Common Ground in Organizations and Communities. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1995.
  • Wilmot, W. Dyadic Communication (3d ed.). New York: Random House, 1987.


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