Once upon a time … who doesn’t like a good story? Short stories, novels, plays or good movies all have the power to captivate us and pull us in. Why? Because when told well, they intrigue and inspire, bidding us to learn more about the characters, locations, context and most importantly, the outcome. A well-told story also invites us to reflect on its messages, motivations and underlying moral. It’s the enchanting allure of narrative, also known as the art of storytelling.
Telling a story is a sound strategy when we want to compel or convince. By using narrative, we showcase the message and make it more memorable. If the story stems from personal experience or resonates emotionally with the speaker, all the better. In these instances, the message becomes more credible, impactful and accessible to the audience, which senses its spell on the speaker.
What are the essentials to boosting our ability to captivate and engage diverse audiences? Whether we’re telling a story or communicating a corporate message, the first step is recognizing that the how is often equally or more important than the what.
As expert orators will attest, three core competencies are required for effective communications: authority, to communicate that we are who we say we are; energy, to convey that the subject truly matters to us; and audience awareness, to ensure that communication is a two-way street that impacts the audience.
Non-verbal communication is also key since everything about us communicates: our posture, gestures, expressions and appearance all send cues that either bolster or undermine the spoken word. For this reason, we need to possess a deep awareness of our body language and the ability to rein in our emotions – or better yet, harness their energy to reinforce our message.
Last but not least, adequate planning and preparation are paramount to coherent and compelling communication. Knowing how to start a presentation, structure its content and wrap things up will help us successfully deliver our message.
Without a doubt, solid leadership requires solid communication skills. For managers who seek to advance their oratory skills, IESE’s Focused Program “Develop Your Communication Skills: It’s How You Tell Them!” is designed with them in mind.
During this three-day immersion, they learn how to structure, design and deliver high-impact presentations that engage and resonate with target audiences. They also analyze the three main presentation styles: the rational-based speech used for interviews, informal meetings and business presentations; the special-occasion speech to persuade or inspire; and the visionary speech to build credibility and obtain alignment around a concrete idea or undertaking.
The program also provides participants a “safe space” to practice each of these three speech styles. Presentations are taped and evaluated in the classroom, with insightful and constructive feedback from faculty and peers. In addition to formal speech styles, participants practice their improvisational skills in a series of short “off-the-cuff” speeches.
The next edition of the “Develop Your Communication Skills: It’s How You Tell Them!” focused program will be held on IESE’s Madrid campus from May 29-31.