“We are in an age of unprecedented change, it’s a ‘revolutionary’ time to be alive! The question we need to be asking ourselves is - ‘Am I leading that change?’ I believe we all have a choice to step up into personal, professional and social leadership. We have a choice to become agents for change, amplifiers, thought leaders to upgrade our thinking and lead our very own revolutions.”

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Entries in speakership (27)


A picture paints a thousand words

I heard a rumour, some might call it an urban myth, that John McFarlane - the former CEO (some years back) of ANZ Bank, had a fabulous ability to translate complex messages into simple pictures.

The story goes, that he often would draw these messages on the back of coasters, paper napkins and scraps of paper. It’s also said that these ‘spontaneous illustrations’ were often carried around in the pockets of those who sat with him during the ‘conversation’.

This is literal evidence that a picture truly does paint a thousand words. There is an art to this illustrating, an art that you can learn.

Spend some time thinking through what you want to say to others and see if there is a simple diagram, illustration or model you could draw, that encapsulates what you are trying to say. In posh language, this is the art of communicating through context.

Here are some tips:

  1. Keep it simple – the less words the better. It’s a picture you’re creating, not a shopping list.
  2. Think of a word picture (metaphor) that may support the diagram you are drawing.
  3. Create it in front of the audience, not in advance. They feel a part of the creation that way.

In my mind, this is the single most important communication skill you need when working in a world of too much information.



Speak On

When preparing for a big audience presentation, there are several things that can be done to give your speech a bit of "wow".

Here are 3 ideas you can use:

  • Obsess about your message
  • Design a process for the speech
  • Create a conversation
Let me explain...

Obsess about your message  
Anyone can tell you about the person who impressed them on stage but broke all the rules. They didn’t move from the lectern, they didn’t have a modulated voice and they jingled keys in their pocket whilst they spoke. They broke all the rules! AND YET, they were totally compelling…. Why? It's because they had something to say that you wanted to hear. Do not get up to speak until you have first spent some time thinking. Obviously this is what THOUGHT LEADERS is all about. Forgive me for the plug but we know how to teach you how to do that better than anyone on the planet.

Design a process for the speech  
Once you are clear about WHAT you want to say then start thinking through HOW you will say it. Don’t think about techniques like where you will stand and how loud you will speak but rather "What is the emotional or story journey that the audience will travel along?" Make sure that at least every 7 minutes there is a major energy shift. Highs and lows, ups and downs, fast and slow.

Create a conversation  
The best public speakers make you feel like they wrote the speech just for you. The key to making this happen is to be in conversation with your audience. Three ways you can do this:

  • Interview a few people before you turn up to understand what they are going through and use these examples in your speech
  • Ask rhetorical questions that demonstrate an understanding of their world
  • Start you presentation in the room and walk into the audience throughout your presentation

Work harder on speaking better in public and take your message to a new level.




When preparing for a recent keynote, I was thinking... "What five things can I do to be 10 times 'more betterer' for this presentation?"
This is what I came up with... 

1. Start with 'Why'
  • It's rude not to
  • You get more of what you want if you do
  • It’s what leaders do

2. Move around a bit

  • You are your message
  • Bring more of you to the stage
  • It’s live, so live it up!

3. Repeat yourself

  • Nobody is listening
  • They don’t care
  • You don’t matter

4. Draw a picture

  • Context is powerful
  • A picture is the ultimate frame 
  • Creates a Halo effect on rest of your material

5. Turn it up

  • Meet and match
  • We want to be inspired
  • If nothing changes, why did you bother?


Think about these five things when preparing for your next presentation to really amplify your speech, ten times over!


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Amplifiers: The Power of Motivational Leadership to Inspire and Influence by Matt Church

Leaders today need to go ‘old-school’ – they need to get back to those original base actions of meeting, talking and inspiring the people around them. They need to get out from behind their strategy and bring leadership to life. 

In a media-dominated social-networked world, leaders can no longer lead from behind a desk or strategy. They need do much more than just make decisions; they need to inspire those around them to excellence and form the vital link between strategy and execution.

In Amplifiers, Australia’s foremost authority on Thought Leadership, Matt Church, explains how great leaders use the art and practice of motivational leadership to light the path to success and inspire others to take that journey with them. Amplifiers are the masters of maximising human potential and developing other great leaders.

According to Church, “motivational leadership is not a ‘nice to do’: it’s a necessity, and one that becomes increasingly needed as we move further into the technological age where we find ourselves time poor and information rich. We need leaders who can take this data deluge and provide meaning, engagement and relevance around all the stuff that matters.”

Using lessons from leaders as Julius Caesar, Winston Churchill, Bobby Kennedy, and Barack Obama, Church explains how great leaders use the art and practice of motivational leadership to light the path to success and inspire others to take that journey with them. Likewise, readers will also learn how successful companies such as Apple and Nike have discovered and profited from the power of motivational leadership. 

In Amplifiers, Church guides readers through the essential skills and strategies of motivational leadership, from effective communication frameworks and roles to proven guidance on choosing high-impact words when speaking to others.

Great leaders aren't born; they're made. For anyone who leads people, motivational leadership is the key to turning strategy into success.

Read Amplifiers and boost your leadership skills to a higher level.



Full Spectrum Ideas

The key to creating great messages is to structure them so that they dance across the full spectrum of left brain logic through to right brain creativity, and then from concrete specific examples up to high order contextual ideas.




In the spectrum model above, you can see that every idea exists at various levels of abstraction (the vertical axis). At one end of the scale, you have very concrete expressions. Tracking ideas across their compass points (speaking metaphorically) is an important part of motivational leadership.


Ideas also exist at various levels of logic and creativity (the horizontal axis). Just as we need both hemispheres of the brain, we need to mix logic and emotion.   


When you try to connect with someone, the attempt can be seen as a battle between putting in too much information (south point in the model), resulting in the essence of the idea being lost, or making the message so simple (north point in the model) that is not seen as practical or relevant by those listening to it.


A snapshot of the five components of an idea is outlined below, and the full pink sheet process is taught as part of the MDE Program.




Make sure your ideas are full spectrum so that you can create great messages.



Amplify your authentic self

Leadership authenticity requires amplification. Leaders are in the spotlight. Their actions, comments and responses to almost everything are put through a filter. It's like living under a microscope.

A senior business leader friend of mine went through intense scrutiny a while back and every email, every report was put through a high level of analysis. He is a man of great character and so nothing was amiss, it was a witch-hunt.

The thing I most understood, after watching my mate from a distance, was how important it was for his actions, words and deeds to be truly his. Without that consistent character, that genuine authenticity, there would have been a terrible outcome. I don't think we will all have to go through a trial by fire like my friend, but we can learn from his example.

  1. Know who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are.
  2. Be strong in your weaknesses. Own and be OK with what you are not good at.
  3. Make no promises you cannot keep.
  4. Be impeccable with your word.
  5. Encourage truth, trust and transparency.

This last point was taught to me by another friend and teacher David Penglase. He teaches many things, including leadership and ethics. His test is a simple one. If kids were watching you do something, would you be OK still doing it? As a dad this one strikes home.

As a leader, you need to amplify your authentic self. Turn up YOU when you turn up.


Once you lived here

It's easy to fit in, to play it safe - don't.
It's easy to listen to those who won't.

It's easy to stay quiet when you know you should speak.
It's easy to criticise those at their peak.

It's easy to follow when others create.
It's easy to say 'they were lucky', not great.

The true way to express why you're here and what matters
is to stand up and share your opinion on matters.

The road will be tough and they'll tell you 'you can't'.
Your thoughts will be judged and often thrown out.

Sometimes you'll create an idea that rocks.
Sometimes you'll publish, to learn from the knocks.

Some days you'll wonder 'does anyone care?'
about the thoughts and creations you frequently share.

You'll question whether you really have what it takes
and will seriously learn from some stupid mistakes.

With 7.4 billion people on the planet today
you'll wonder does anyone care what you have to say.

Challenge yourself to grow more in a week
than someone ten years ago knew at their peak.

One thing's for certain, you have to be you.
Stand up, speak out and say something true!

If you do, then know this about your new found career.
The world will remember that once you lived here.




Leaders today need to go “old school”. They need to get out from behind their strategy and bring leadership to life. They need to be able to make a difference personally. Their very role as leaders, the purpose of their existence, is to make a difference and the difference they make is one of amplification.

They need to be able to make more out of what is going on. They amplify the messages that matter, they amplify the commitment to getting things done, they amplify the positive mood in a culture and they amplify the results we get.

Amplifiers are those leaders who make a difference at all levels within a business, a community or a family.

The challenge is that being an Amplifier is a choice you make, more so than a promotion you get or a set of capabilities you develop.

We desperately need leaders who can lead. We need Amplifiers - those leaders who can reduce fear and replace it with confidence, reduce confusion and replace it with clarity, mobilising us all in pursuit of a better future. It's not a “nice to do”, it's a necessity, and one that becomes increasingly so as we move further into a technological age where we find ourselves time poor and information rich. We need leaders who can take this data deluge and provide meaning, engagement and relevance around all the stuff that matters.

Amplifiers are a new level in the leadership ladder, distinguishable from other levels by their ability to develop motivators and inspirers and not just be one themselves. In tech terms they are the new operating system. They take all the best bits of the previous five positive stages on the leadership ladder and add a final quality multiplication. They are not only motivating - they create motivators; they are not only inspiring - they inspire inspirers. They go from being the smartest and most inspiring in the room, and actually breed those qualities in others. As a result their effect is exponential. If one motivator can reach 150 people and an amplifier creates 150 motivators -  they then reach 22,500 people indirectly. They become 150n. They have exponential and immeasurable impacts on communities and businesses.

Learn how to use motivational leadership to get things done in and around you. Get really good at being an Amplifier, it's not just talk and you do make a difference! We need Amplifiers!



15 Questions

When speaking in public, there are 15 questions in the minds of your audience members that need to be answered before you deliver the content of your message. These questions are often unconscious, but answering them in advance means that people are more receptive to what you have to say and more likely to remember what you said.

The first set of questions are all about making your message a priority:
1. Why this message? I read a piece recently that suggested that there are 3,500 books being written every day, and the question is not "How will I find time to read them all?", but rather, "Of those I choose to read, which ones are worth my attention?" Sharing information any other way is much the same; the audience gives me an hour of their time, so I had better give them something worth listening to. (IMPORTANCE)
2. Why this message now? Almost every audience you will address will feel that they have a lot on, and that all of it is all-important. This is something you need to navigate every time you are attempting to gather people's attention around your idea or cause. They must give it a sense of urgency! (URGENCY)
3. Why are you the person to tell me this message? This is where you begin to build credibility around who you are and your message. If you get a great response to your first two pieces around the message and the urgency of it, you can spend less time on the third credibility piece. (CREDIBILITY)

The second set of questions are all about positioning who you are and what you do:
4. Who are you? The critical thing whenever you talk about yourself is to do so humbly. Make sure you own your success but be quick to share how you have learnt from mistakes and failures. (DISCLOSURE)
5. What do you do? Think like an engineer as you talk through what it is you do and how you go about doing it. See if you can elevate others. State the fact that you are surrounded by some seriously smart technical cookies. Then proceed to explain how person X's genius allows you to get Y done better than others. (PROCESS)
6. Why should I care? You need to link what you know to what people want. If you can link how what you propose helps the audience get what they are in business for - people get that you are delivering a message just for them - that addresses their real work challenges. This makes you super relevant. (BENEFIT)

The third set of questions are all about knocking down barriers and subconscious objections:
7. What's wrong with you? At some time in your life you will be the odd one - maybe you are short, maybe you are bald, maybe you are white and the audience is not. Be careful that you don't come from insecurity when framing out a what’s-wrong-with-you concern. (PERSONAL)
8. What’s wrong with them? Think through your audience and see if they have a professional bias or some such. Eg. Engineers over specify things (like bridges so they don't fall down), accountants analyse things. Frame their bias in a complimentary way and position the disruption or change that is instructing your thinking. Ask for thoughts - then position your message. (AUDIENCE)
9. What's wrong with your message? If a message is hard to swallow or you know something might be poorly received it’s useful to get that elephant out the front of the room and name it. (MESSAGE)

The fourth set of questions switch the smart cookies on to your talk:
10. What's it like? This question is basically addressing the need for referencing. This helps people to see that you are not passing off ideas as your own. Quote others, hold up books, references, shared experiences and use analogies to start your conversation. (ABSTRACT)
11. What's it about? This is a question that positions your message into a primary overarching context. Basically pick a word that sums up what you want to discuss and share it at the outset. Then, what you want to do is build a memorable phrase that anchors that word in a way that's easy to recall. (EXISTENTIAL)
12. What's in it for me? The ‘me’ in this case may be 'my group' or 'my division' or 'my family' and it’s not an unreasonable question for someone to ask. Take time to get really clear what the pay off is for your desired audience. (INTRAPERSONAL)

The last three questions are about action and driving change:
13. What's your point? Make sure that your point is clear and well articulated. Your three or so great points nest under your primary context, (question 11) and make it real. (CLARITY)
14. How is it unique? Make sure you can explain how your idea is unique - look for a point of difference. (DIFFERENTIATION)
15. So what should I do? Our final frame is the action frame. Pick three, five or seven simple actions that people can take. Make them practical as well as conceptual. (PRESCRIPTION)

If the message you deliver is relevant, thorough, elegant and unique - then they just might act on it.



Rah Rah! It's not just talk

Leaders today need to go old school. They need to get out from behind their strategy and bring leadership to life.

Motivational leadership is the ability to influence culture and drive change. It’s applied powerfully at home, in communities and organisations everywhere. 

We need leaders who can lead. Leaders who can remove fear and replace it with confidence, remove confusion and replace it with clarity and mobilise us all in pursuit of a better future.

It seems that strategy is failing many as it is almost impossible to create solutions for futures further out than 12-36 months. Make no mistake, strategy is critical, it’s simply not all it’s been made out to be. The idea of motivational leadership trumps strategy every time.

Motivational Leadership (Rah Rah!) is the missing link between what we know we should do (strategy), the willingness to do it (attitude) and getting it done (execution). 
While the principles of Rah Rah are simple, the application of them requires a combination of art, finesse and courage.

One thing though is universally true, you cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without also illuminating your own.

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