Dr. Sue Mitchell is Director of Aeona, an Approved Development Provider with the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) for Leadership and Coaching programs. Sue works with organizations, leaders, managers, business owners and private clients to inspire them to achieve results, make a difference and change their world for the better. Clients come from organizations of all types and size from start-ups, sole practitioners, and SMEs to multinational corporates, the public sector, and third sector.
In this conversation, Sue discusses her book, The Authority Guide to Engaging Your People.
Geetesh: Please tell us more about your book, The Authority Guide to Engaging Your People. What motivated you to write this book, and in your opinion, what is the one takeaway from this book that will help business people?
Sue: I wrote this book because I am passionate about helping people be better leaders in all walks of life, whether or not their role has ‘leader’ in the title. I consider that engaging your people is the most important ability of a leader because when you are engaged and personally motivated, you do whatever it is you do more creatively, more imaginatively, with more energy, focus, and purpose, and deliver better results. Engaging people is also the most important ability for a presenter and communicator because if people are not engaged they will not hear your message or take action on it.
One key takeaway for business people: When you get things done through other people by asking questions rather than telling them what to do and how to do it, those people give you more confidence in what they are doing and they get things done more effectively, with more responsibility for being on time and up to or exceeding standards.
Geetesh: Your book talks about motivating and engaging people in the work environment. Will these techniques also create better presenters and communicators?
In the book, I talk about listening and communicating. The art of engaging people is about knowing how to make your language come alive in a way that connects with each person. Business language can often come across as rather boring and neutral. One way to spice it up is to use richly sensory words that help connect with people’s emotions and passions. Great presentations put your message across using as many channels as possible to ‘tap into the heart, mind, and gut’ so that people feel your message is relevant to them. For example, even if you are speaking to accountants who want to hear the facts, your message is more inspirational and effective when you include not only the facts (essential!), but also reasons why the facts are important and relevant to them, relevant stories that illustrate your point, and you invite them into the conversation by asking questions that get them to think, share experiences and get involved. In the book, I describe nine core motivators and you will be much more engaging a presenter and communicator when you craft your message to tap into each of the nine motivators.
Another point in the book is that your body language and vocal tone needs to align with your words because when there is a mismatch, the listener will not believe your message.
Finally, the best communicators listen. Communicators who don’t listen are simply broadcasters. While they may broadcast their message, they have no way of knowing whether their message has been heard and understood as they intended it to be. Broadcasting is open to misinterpretation because each person filters the incoming information through their own lens, their mindset, which shapes their perspective. When you listen and get to know your audience, you can craft your message to be understood from their perspective.