Self Leadership Blog
by Andrew Bryant

Business Leadership, Virtual Speaking and Audience Engagement

Would you take free advice from a man worth more than $86 billion?

If that advice would increase your worth by at least 50 percent, would you act on it?

Do I have your attention?

Legendary investor and billionaire, Warren Buffet freely gives advice to improve your communication skills. He says,

“If you can’t communicate, it’s like winking at a girl in the dark — nothing happens”.

Billionaire entrepreneur, Richard Branson agrees.

“Today, if you want to succeed as an entrepreneur, you also have to be a storyteller”

The Benefit of Audience Engagement

Buffet and Branson clearly understand that even if you have the best ideas and, or the best product, to be successful, you must confidently communicate in ways that engage your audience.

Consider the success of Steve Job’s Apple product launches. Books have been written about Job’s presentation style, and many CEOs have emulated his stagecraft.

The good news is that communication,...

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Why Being Nice is Not Helping You

Being ‘nice’ is a behavior we teach our children, and as adults, we like it when people are nice to us, so what is so wrong with being nice?

If you value being, considerate, pleasant, friendly, and well-mannered then by all means behave that way and encourage others to do the same. But it may surprise you that being nice does not mean these things.

The Real Meaning of Nice

I have painful memories of learning the true meaning of ‘nice’.

At school in the U.K, my English teacher detested the inexactitude of the adjective ‘nice’. He thought its use was lazy and sought to expunge it from my vocabulary with a smack across the back of the hand, with a steel ruler, if I ever used it. This left a lasting memory on a 9-year old boy and to this day, I cringe when I hear it.

As barbaric as this education sounds, my English teacher was correct in his understanding of the etymology of the word ‘nice’. Its origins are from Latin nescius...

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3 Presidential Leadership Lessons

At the time of writing this, the US Election has been called by the Media, for former Vice President, Joe Biden, with Senator, Kamala Harris as his Vice President. Regardless of your personal preference for the outcome, this is a historical moment.

Right now, Biden and Harris are making speeches about unity and healing and putting together a transition team. It won’t be easy. Rhetoric alone will not get the COVID-19 Pandemic under control or get buy-in from the 70-million Americans who didn’t vote for them.

What strategies can the new President use, and what can we learn that we can apply to our own leadership challenges?

I was born in 1961, the year President Kennedy (JFK) took office as the 35th President of the United States of America. Kennedy, a Democrat, took over from Eisenhower, a Republican, and inherited the containment doctrine of the 1940s and 1950s.  This doctrine founded on the belief that Communism was a threat to the United States seemed archaic to...

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How to Lead Change with Stories

leadership storytelling Nov 09, 2020

Leading change with and through stories is a key leadership competency and so should be a key focus of any leader's development.

Stories create a space for the listener to 'step back' from a current perspective and consider an alternative view. This new awareness creates the flexibility required for a change in attitude and behavior.

A Story for Change of Perspective

On December 24th, 1968, fueled by fears of Russian space supremacy, and guided by President Kennedy’s vision, Apollo 8 comes around the moon for the first time.

The astronauts are greeted with the most amazing spectacle – Earth Rise.

From the Dawn of Time, man has spoken and sung of our god’s looking down on the earth from above, and now for the first time, we humans get a god’s eye view of our blue-green planet spinning against the vast backdrop of space.

Vicariously, through the eyes and cameras of those brave astronauts, we had escaped the cultural frames of race, religion, nationality,...

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How to be Heard - Every Time You Speak to Your Team or Address an Audience

career influence success Nov 06, 2020
 

In a previous post, I spoke about how not to get passed over for promotion, and one of those steps was to speak up. Regardless of your seniority your business or career, there’s a lot of noise out there and if you are not heard, you cannot influence, and if you can’t influence you can’t be successful.

Many people have the mindset that it’s best to fly under the radar, but successful people know that.

"if you don’t want to be part of the herd, you must be heard"

In this post, I’m going to share with you 5 strategies to get heard and pave your way to be heard and be more influential.

Some of these strategies might seem counter-intuitive and earlier in my career, I struggled to apply them, sometimes missing opportunities because I didn’t get my message heard.

I don’t want you to miss out – so listen up!

Strategy 1: Bad News First

The evening news, on TV, does not start with a cute story about a baby animal being born at the...

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How not to be Passed Over for Promotion

 

Are you driving your career, or are you being a passenger?

In this post, I want to share some actions you can take to ensure you don’t have to swallow the bitter pill of disappointment when you are passed over for a job that should rightfully be yours.

Promotion Secret Sauce

Philip was furious, he had worked hard, stayed late, been loyal, exceeded his numbers, but missed out on the promotion he was expecting.

When he asked his boss the reason, he was told that the other directors felt he lacked, ‘Executive Presence’.

Philip hadn’t realized that he was missing the ‘Secret Ingredient’ to success in a modern organization, and it cost him. It cost him big-time.

“Executive Presence is the ability to project confidence and gravitas (substance) under pressure.”

Executive Presence is about the right kind of ‘visibility’, whether the meeting is in person or on a global call. Having worked with many managers and leaders, to...

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Choosing the right Executive Coach for you

Choosing an Executive Coach for yourself can be a little confusing, to say the least. Your Executive Coach is going to be your confidant and you will need to open up to get the best from the relationship. So whether you are spending your own money or your organization is providing you with a coach, it’s helpful to have more than just a ‘gut-feel’ to go on.

Most coaches will give you a no-obligation, 30 to 60-minute ‘chemistry’ meeting to assess if there is a fit for both parties. That’s right, an experienced coach may spot you are not committed to the process, or the organization has misaligned expectations and so excuse themselves from the assignment.

I recommend that you meet with at least two coaches but no more than four. Meetings can be face-to-face, by video conference, or by phone. Try and ask each coach the same questions, and take note of the questions they ask you. A good coach is going to get you to step back and think. You will find...

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Remembering Sean Connery - Bond - James Bond

“Bond, James Bond”

It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Academy Award Winning Scottish Actor, Sir Thomas Sean Connery (25 August 1930 – 31 October 2020).

The first actor to play James Bond in a movie in 1962, Sean Connery has been an icon for my entire life. My parents were fans, and as soon as I was old enough, I was a fan.

This blog reflects on the impact of Sean’s life, both on and off-screen.

Being Bond

Connery had been an actor in small theater and TV productions before he played Bond, but it was this role that launched his career. James Bond 007, a British Secret Service agent, was created by writer Ian Fleming in 1953, but Connery’s physicality and humor brought the character to life. If you watch an interview with Connery, you will hear the humor, that so distinguished his alter ego’s dry wit.

He played 007 in the first five Bond films: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with...

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How to Get Out of a Slump

 Are you in a slump?

Do your batteries feel flat, focus is elusive and you are drawn to your couch like a moth to a flame? Symptoms may vary, but you know you are not operating at your best, and you find yourself asking, "how to get out of this slump?"

But wait!

Having been in slumps myself, there is a surprising benefit to slumps.

The Secret Slump Benefit

As a motivational speaker and author on the topic of self-leadership, there's an expectation that I wouldn't experience a slump. Nothing is further from the truth.  You see, when I hit a slump, I'm like a man who is happy at the bottom of a hole. Why? Because I both know the way out and, I know the benefit of being in the hole.

Life can be fast-paced and we can miss the subtle things. A slump is often your body or mind signaling you something. It's only when you accept the slump that you can get the message.

Too often we force ourselves to push through such periods of low energy, but if it...

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Why do Trump Supporters Love Him so Much?

As a non-American, I have been wondering for a while why so many Trump supporters can overlook, what from my professional standpoint, are clear failures in leadership. I just didn't 'get it'.

Then I saw a clip of a woman wearing an oversized MAGA hat in Florida, saying, “He loves God, he loves the constitution, he cares about us and he will fight for us.”

She was clearly in love, the kind of love where one positively projects perceived qualities upon another person.

Love and Projection

Psychologist, Carl Jung maintained that all impassioned, almost-magical relationships between people involve projection. The other person becomes the object of great love or loathing, and sometimes both.

We usually do not see our own projections, because they stem from the unconscious, and because they get cast onto someone with a suitable hook. Positive projections are accompanied by the emotions found in the feelings of awe, adoration, and reverence. We do not realize that our...

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