Dry Content? Find Your Passion and Your Purpose
As leaders, it’s pretty clear when we need to inspire and motivate groups of people. At product launches; division meetings; keynotes. But what about the daily safety message? What about the weekly team meeting? How do we inspire engagement in the most seemingly transactional moments?
In the Ariel classroom, we facilitators endeavor to inspire our clients to inspire others, to communicate with passion, and to connect with the hearts and minds of others.
“But wait,” one of my participants says, “What if my material is just really dry?”
“Yes,” another participant chimes in, “What if I just need to get the information across, make sure they understand, and then move on?”
“Good one,” I reply. “Let me ask you a question – what is this information? What’s it about?”
“Safety,” says one.
“Compliance,” says another.
“Status update on an engagement,” says a third.
It’s a great question. As leaders, it’s pretty clear when we need to inspire and motivate groups of people. At product launches; division meetings; keynotes. But what about the daily safety message? What about the weekly team meeting? How do we inspire engagement in the most seemingly transactional moments?
I have two words for you: passionate purpose.
In the theater, an actor’s intention is the foundation of their performance. An actor has to know what their character wants at every moment they are on stage or on film; every gesture, every line, every tone in their voice is serving that intention.
So what’s your intention? What’s your passionate purpose? Passionate purpose comes in the form of action verbs – to inspire, to warn, to challenge, to motivate. Notice that “to check a box” is not on this list.
So for that safety presentation, your passionate purpose might be to challenge the team to preserve their excellent safety record or to warn them that current processes may lead to an accident. For that status update, you might want to inspire the team to be more innovative in the next phase of the engagement; or reassure them that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
“Yes, Kate, thank you for that reminder,” you might say. “But what happens when my material is so dry that even I don’t feel inspired by it? I don’t like delivering it, but I have to. Sometimes I don’t agree with the message I have to deliver. Then what?”
Ah, yes, the burden of leadership. Here’s the deal – no matter how dull or disagreeable your message might be, you’ve got to find your way in. It is your job as a leader to find your passion in this particular communication. Here are some ideas:
- Go big picture – if we are in pharma remind us that our day-to-day slogging is saving patients’ lives.
- Make it personal – remind your team why you do the work you do, which may in turn remind them why they do it.
- Give the message weight – if you breeze through dry data, the audience will experience that breeze going right over their heads. Be succinct, be clear and emphasize important words.
There is a quote we use often in the classroom – a leader is responsible for the level of engagement in the room. Passion is contagious. Purpose gives clarity. Leverage these powerful tools and the engagement in the room will rise exponentially, no matter how dry your content.
Have you used your passionate purposes on a dry topic to engage your audience?