Ep. 98: Allison Shapira on 3 Strategies To Maximize Trust In Communication
In this episode, we feature an exclusive clip from the 2022 Trusted Leader Summit where David welcomed to the stage Allison Shapira, Public Speaking Expert, Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Author, to share her 3 strategies to maximize trust in communication.
Buy David’s NEWEST Book “Trusted Leader”: https://amzn.to/3luyqf1
Allison Shapira is a former opera singer turned entrepreneur, keynote speaker, and expert in public speaking. She is the Founder/CEO of Global Public Speaking LLC, a communication training firm and certified woman-owned small business that helps people speak clearly, concisely, and confidently – both virtually and in person. She teaches public speaking at the Harvard Kennedy School and has spent nearly 20 years developing leadership communication programs for Fortune 50 companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations around the world. Allison is a Certified Virtual Presenter and a Certified Speaking Professional (CSP). She holds a master’s degree in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and is the author of Speak with Impact: How to Command the Room and Influence Others (HarperCollins Leadership) which was a Washington Post best-seller. She was a finalist for 2017 Woman Business Owner of the Year by the National Association of Women Business Owners, San Diego Chapter. She lives in the Washington, DC area.
“Speak with Impact” by Allison Shapira: https://amzn.to/3r7aMJ9
Global Public Speaking: https://www.globalpublicspeaking.com/
1. “If you are bored with what you’re saying you will be a boring speaker.”
2. “Your why you is constantly changing.”
3. “When you’re the most senior person in the room your energy dictates the energy of the room.”
4. “Intention is focused energy.”
5. “That consistency of message, in the way that you present, is a driver of trust.”
6. “Intension and smiling is what takes that warmth and transmits it to the audience.”
7. “The more senior we become, the more our audience takes their ques from us.”
8. “We have to build trust first and then demonstrate that trust in our communication skills.”
Links Mentioned In The Episode:
2023 Trusted Leader Summit: http://trustedleadersummit.com/
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David Horsager (Intro):
Welcome to the trusted leader show. I’m your host David Horsager. Join me as I sit down with influential leaders from around the world to discuss why leaders in organizations fail top tactics for high performance and how you can become an even more trusted leader.
Welcome to the trusted leader show. I’m Kent Svenson producer of the trusted leader show. And for this week’s episode, we feature an exclusive clip from the 2022 trusted leader summit, where David welcomed to the stage Allison Shapira, public speaking expert, entrepreneur, speaker, and author, to discuss her three strategies to maximize trust in communication. So sit back, relax and enjoy the show.
It starts with these three strategies. The first strategy is around connecting with your sense of purpose before you communicate. Here’s the challenge. We are tired. We are overworked. We are stressed. We are filled with uncertainty and, and even if we’ve we’ve dealt with this uncertainty over the past two years, there’s always something new around the corner. We talked about this this morning. When we do that, we tend to go on automatic. Our language goes on automatic, our speeches, our meetings, our, our content goes on automatic, and we simply bring the, the professional image of ourselves into every interaction. We default to jargon, acronyms talking points. Perhaps we, we hide behind complexity because we don’t have the energy to go. How, how, how in order to get to the clarity. And we, when we do that, that lack of clarity and that lack of authenticity holds people back from relating to us because as David says, it’s our vulnerability that people relate to, not our title, not this image of a perfect leader.
And so often when there’s a crisis, we feel like we have to be perfect. We have to have all the perfect answers. We need to know everything. And there’s no such thing. So, so when we hide behind that ideal of perfection and we bring in this, this formal language, it holds people back from connecting with us and what they need most is to connect with us and the way in which we connect with our sense of purpose in order to bring our authenticity into every interaction is by asking one question. And I know you’ve, you’ve received a lot of questions over today and, and David gave you a lot of questions to ask. I’m gonna ask you to bear with me for one more question. That question has become one of the core tenets of my methodology, my philosophy that I use every day. And that question is why you, and by why you, I don’t mean where did you go to school?
What’s your title? What company do you work for? How many years do you have enroll? Those are external validators by why you, I mean, why do you care about your work? About the people you serve and by extension, when was a time in your life that made you care and I’ll give you two examples of this. The first example is of the why you missing in action. I have a friend named Patrick and I met Patrick in downtown Washington, DC dancing, tango, and on the dance floor. Patrick is this incredible tango dancer. He’s charming. He’s funny. He’s confident. He’s relaxed. He’s the life of the party in his day job. He works in real estate development and he asked me for help preparing a presentation to a community board. So I go to Patrick’s office. I sit in a comfy chair. I sit back and I wait for tango, Patrick to Regal. Me and Patrick gets up, takes the clicker for the PowerPoint. And he goes behind me. We have the schematics of what the project’s gonna look like. There’s the timeline, any questions?
And Patrick was afraid that he was a boring speaker and I’m not gonna lie. Patrick was a boring speaker, but I asked him why you, why you, why do you care? I really pushed him. He was my friend. I could push him. I cared about him and it turns out he didn’t, he didn’t care. He hated his job. He hated his boss. He didn’t like the industry. We realized Patrick, wasn’t a boring speaker. He was just bored. And if you are bored with what you’re saying, you will be a boring speaker. Contrast that with Stacy, Stacey’s a woman I worked with at a financial institution where we will do, we were doing this intensive leadership communication cohort program. And we were preparing a new business pitch for her. And she was pitching the bank’s business, their suite of services to a small business client.
And I asked Stacy, why you, why do you care? And she gave me a, a very general answer. She said, cuz I believe in service. I said, okay, why? She said, cuz service is important to me. I said, when was a time in your life that made you care? And she said, well, growing up, my parents were small business owners. And every single day I saw them wake up and put their customers needs before their own. And that sense of service was instilled in me and what I love most about my job and what keeps me here 30 years later is that every single day I get to wake up and live my parents’ legacy. That’s why, what do you think Stacy could do with that? Why you, how about start the new business pitch with it? Because she’s competing in an industry where all the banks have similar services and it’s the relationship that she’s selling.
It’s the trust of the client that she’ll be there for them when they need her. And by telling that story that why you, they get a sense of her character and that’s what helps her builds trust. The Y U has two main purposes or at least there are two ways in which I use why you and that I recommend others use it as well. The first way we use it is right before we craft a presentation. Before we start a meeting, before we enter a room for a networking event, why you, we pause and breathe maybe in between zoom calls, when one went over and the other one we’re running late to pause and breathe. Think about that. Why you and it centers you to remind you why what you’re doing is important. And it changes for every meeting because the topic changes and the people change and the issues change. So your Y U is constantly changing. You use it to center yourself when you’re distracted, multitasking and not fully present with people, pause and breathe. It brings you back to the present. The second use of the ye is in the language that you use when you communicate. Because by answering that question, you’re automatically going to craft a message or deliver a message with authentic language. That’s conversational to you. Nobody answers why you with, to increase shareholder value.
It it’s something personal to us. So by nature of answering that question, you come up with this rich language that you can use when introducing yourself to a new group of people when motivating a group of direct reports and sharing something that feels vulnerable about you, but that helps them see your character. So it gives you rich material. You can use in a presentation, in a meeting, in a pitch, in a one-on-one mentoring conversation. That’s the power of the why you, and it helps you connect with your sense of purpose, which is the first strategy that lets you build trust with your audience. Once you’ve done that once you’ve connected with your sense of purpose, the second strategy is around delivering a message with energy, harnessing your best energy. The challenge is because we’re tired because we’re really busy. We have so much going on. We’re now balancing our, our new workflows and the great resignation is happening to everyone. If it’s not happening to you, it’s happening to your clients. All of that stress that we feel physically shows up when we communicate and it affects the people we work with. When you are the most senior person in the room, your energy dictates the energy of the room. They take their cues from you. How should I feel? Should I feel calm and reassured? Or should I feel anxious and nervous? Your energy tells them how to feel.
So the technique that you can use to harness your best energy, this isn’t about trying to fake it or, or act like somebody else to harness your best energy. I want you to speak with intention. Now the word intention means many things to many people. That’s the beauty of the word intention. It can mean many things. When I say intention, I mean focused energy, whatever it is that you say, or do you focus all your energy on saying or doing it? This is not an intellectual activity. It’s a physical activity. Imagine for a minute, you’re going to the gym. You are excited to work out. You go to the gym, you find the machine it’s available. You work out with zero intention. How effective are you going to be? Not very, this is like the people who lay on the mat pretending to do abs. And they’re really texting. nobody’s laughing cuz they can relate to that. They’re laughing cuz they’ve seen other people do it, right? You will not be effective. But now let’s imagine you go to the gym. You’re excited to work out. You find that machine, you work out with 100% intention, 100% focused energy. Now you’re gonna see results.
How does this relate to our communication skills? You’re here at this summit. Let’s say and why don’t we do this right now? You’re gonna introduce to yourself to someone you haven’t met before. I want you to stand up. If you can approach someone, introduce yourself to them out loud with zero intention. Do that right now. Stand up, introduce yourself to someone you don’t know with zero intention. How do that stay? Where you are, stay where you are. We’re gonna have, don’t worry. There’s a round B to that. How did that feel? Shout it out. Awkward. What else? Me? Great. What else? Blaze. How did it, when someone spoke to you like that, how did it make you feel curious? It’s first time I’ve heard curious is that response, like they didn’t care. How many of you know people who speak like that? How does it make you feel? Now we’ll try this again. You’re gonna approach that same person. Shake their hand or fist bump whenever you’re comfortable with. But this time focus 100% of your energy. A hundred percent intention on introducing yourself to that person. Give it a try. All right. Take your seats.
What was the difference in the second round? Shout it out. What was the difference? This time more
Exciting, more energy. What was it? More exciting? What else?
Over here. What was that connection? What else? Smile. You smiled? What else? Eye contact. Eye contact. What else? Interest.
Happy to see you makes you
Feel good. It made you feel good. How was the handshake?
Nice, strong handshake. So if I’m trying to teach you your communication skills and I’m like, okay, this time I want you to do more eye contact. I want you to have a better handshake. I want you to have more energy, more excitement. I want you to be all in alignment. It’s too much. But this simple technique of speaking with intention focuses you. It makes you more present and it focuses all your energy on what you’re saying or doing. It has nothing to do with the content. You’re simply tapping into your best energy. Theu helps you find the right content, but then speaking with intention helps you deliver it with your best energy. And, and it’s not yelling. A hundred percent. Intention is not yelling at people.
I can speak with a hundred percent intention and I can whisper. Whatever is natural to you. This is simply bringing that out and being intentional. And, and when we talk about clarity as a driver of trust, it’s, it’s not just the language of clarity, it’s the clarity of our pronunciation and our, the intentionality of our words. And it’s also consistency because what you were talking about is making sure that everything about you is communicating the same thing, your eye contact, your gestures, your energy, your voice, everything was an alignment. And that consistency of message of the way in which you present is a driver of trust. Also, if I say one thing in my body says something else, then there’s an inconsistency there, right? If I started our session today by saying, good morning, everyone I’m really excited to be here and we’re gonna have a great time.
I know it’s late in the day. Don’t worry. I’ll get you up and energized. Okay? the inconsistency in my message makes you think, oh no, she’s the, she’s not telling the truth. You’re not, you don’t trust me. So the idea is that I wanna make sure every part of me is communicating the same message. Very often we are unintentionally sending mixed signals to people. When we communicate our words, say one thing, our gestures and tone say another. And that disconnect makes it difficult for people to connect with us, which is why that, why you brings out your authenticity. The intention brings out your best energy and you can turn it on in an instant log, into the zoom call, pause and breathe, speak with intention. Smile because it changes the shape of your face. And it makes the words sound more confident, sound more capable. And that’s what I’ve been recommending for two years of teaching people, how to, how to project their executive presence through a camera lens, intention and smiling is what takes that warmth and transmits it to the audience. And the more senior we become, again, the more our audience takes their cues from us. So I wanna be intentional about how I make you feel
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These two, the first two strategies that we covered are around what we do. We tap into our sense of purpose. We then deliver that message with intention. The third strategy is more directed at the people we’re speaking to. And the strategy is around. How do you build connection? We’ve been talking a lot about connection as a driver of trust. We know it’s important. How, how, how, how do we build connection with the people in our organization? In our network? The challenge is connection is one of the ways in which we keep people with us in our circle, working with us. And when people are leaving, then how do we validate the people who are here? How do we raise them up and remind them why they’re why they’re here. We do that by tapping into shared values and I’ll show you how to do that. What are some of your core values? Shout them out. What are some of your core values? What was that respect? What else? Accountability. Accountability. What else? Generosity. Honesty. Honesty. Okay. What else? Gratitude. Now choose a value that the people in your organization will relate to. Not just your value, but a value people on your team in your organization will relate to.
And think about a time when you saw people on your team demonstrate that value. This is not about you. This is about them. What’s a value that, you know, you share with people on your team. When was a time in which you saw them demonstrate that value. If it’s in financial services, perhaps it was when you saw everyone on your team, come together with the cares act. If you’re in education, maybe it’s how everyone rallied around this one student in need in healthcare. Maybe everyone came together together to support one particular patient. When was a moment in which you saw your team demonstrate that value? I ask you to find this material because this is what you put into your meetings and presentations. Can you start a meeting, especially when you have a difficult message to convey, can you start by building up the team by reminding them why they matter how we work effectively, how we can come together when we need to.
And then once we connect based on that shared value, now that we’re in alignment, we’re able to effectively address the task at hand instead of just walking into the meeting and saying, all right, I have something difficult to share with you. Can we first align based on why we’re here and what we do well, and then we can deliver that difficult message. So those three strategies to build trust. Every time you communicate are first and foremost, ask yourself why you, why do you care before you craft that message? Before you log into that meeting, before you introduce yourself to someone, pause and breathe, remind yourself of your, why you then when you speak, no matter what you’re saying, whether you’re virtual or in person, one person or 300 people speak with intention. And when you speak to a group of people that you work with, that you lead tap into the shared values between you and that group build a bond with them through those shared values.
And then you’re more effectively able to mobilize them to take action around a shared goal. Those are three strategies that I have found to be transformational in my ability to connect with and build trust with others and teach people how they can use communication skills to build trust. We can’t simply think about what do I wanna say? And what’s the perfect hand gesture to use. When I say it, we have to build trust first and then demonstrate that trust in our communication skills, it all comes back to this concept of authenticity. Nothing I shared with you today should feel forced. It’s simply giving you an avenue to find what’s already in you. And then you give yourself permission to share
That’s it for this week’s episode. Be sure to check out trustedleadershow.com for all the show notes and links from anything mentioned in today’s episode. And we are so excited to announce the trusted leader summit is coming back next year, November 7th – 9th, 2023 at the JW Marriott Mall of America here in Minnesota. To find out more information and to register head to trustedleadersummit.com. And if you haven’t already make sure to subscribe to the trusted leader show on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, or wherever you get your podcast so that you never miss an episode. But in the meantime, that’s it for this week’s episode. Thank you so much for listening. And until next time stay trusted.