How to Be a Leader Who Inspires Action & Commitment

Do you know how to be a leader who inspires action and commitment from your team? Laura Stack of Leadership USA and I recently met to talk about how leaders can inspire action and commitment. I share this recording and transcript of our webinar. Enjoy!

Laura Stack introduces Patricia Fripp:

“In my business and the speaking industry, she is considered a legend. She was the first woman president of the National Speakers Association, and she was a Hall of Fame speaker long before I was. Meetings & Conventions magazine named her one of the 10 most electrifying speakers in North America. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine wrote that one of the best ways to invest in your success is to learn presentation skills from Patricia Fripp. I invited her to meet you, my valued Leadership USA community, because she is a presentation skills expert. Regardless of where you speak or to whom, I know Patricia can help you. Her clients hire her to help them gain a competitive edge by improving their important conversations and presentations. Whether you’re watching us live or watching the recording, I hope you are strapped in because this is going to be an incredibly content-rich and fast-moving presentation. You can also email Patricia with questions afterward. She will provide you with the contact information. Without any further ado, my hero, Patricia Fripp.”

Patricia Fripp:  Thank you, Laura. Welcome, everyone here and those watching us by streaming. You may be thinking, “Well, Patricia and Laura, I am not a public speaker.” Remember, outside the privacy of your own home, all speaking is public speaking. There is no such thing as private speaking, and when we speak, whether it’s to one, five, or 50 people, we want to be remembered and repeated. Whether you are giving instructions or leading a meeting, you want everyone listening to remember what you said. You want them to remember well enough to tell somebody else and clearly articulate your key ideas. The better you do that, the more you speak to the audience of your audience. You will see long-term results from putting more time into preparation for your meetings and communications.

When I ask people how they prepare, they say, “Oh, I just get up and lead my meetings or give a presentation. I just let the message come through me.” My advice is not to depend upon inspiration. Inspiration may come, but you cannot rely on it. What you can rely on is starting early with your preparation. What if a leader calls and says, “Hey, can you come up to my office in 20 minutes and give me an outline of what you’ve been working on?” Even in that situation, immediately stop what you’re doing and think about how you are going to open and framework the presentation. Always be prepared for those frequent, unplanned opportunities to present. Trust in being prepared.

If you are reporting on behalf of a team or your leadership, consider collaborating, getting input on an important presentation or meeting, and rehearse. Michael Caine, the Oscar winner from Britain, said, “Rehearsal is the work. Performance is the relaxation.”  My clients sometimes think that once they have their presentation scripted, they’re ready. I tell them, “No, you’re halfway done.” The next half is getting into your body, and that is rehearsal. Managers and leaders often make the mistake of waiting until the last minute to prepare. You can be prepared in advance for unplanned meetings by having an overview of a framework and some opening lines. Avoid unfocused thinking. What are the key ideas of your report? Start with that.

Don’t begin with a weak opening. The first 30 seconds of any conversation or presentation are vitally important. Compare the opening of a presentation or a meeting to the opening of a movie. In movies, the opening scene is called “the flavor” scene. You want flavor to launch your presentation. You want your audience to be thinking, “Wow, this meeting is going to be good,” or “Wow, I’m glad I was invited to hear this presentation.”  You must also recognize the big picture. You might have only a five-minute presentation, but if it is done well, it can have a powerful, long-term impact.

Don’t even consider not rehearsing. And let the visual age become the focus. When I ask many professionals what the first step is in putting together their presentations, I frequently hear, “Well, I get out the slide deck.” If you’re delivering a presentation you’ve given before, that’s fine. Review your slides and then put them to the side. Next, go to the white board or the flip chart and refocus on this presentation.

What is different? What’s going to be more exciting about it? Rethink closing with questions. We open many meetings or presentations for questions, of course, and that’s appropriate, but don’t close on questions. What if you get a somewhat negative question? You could ruin the wonderful positive impact of your presentation with a negative comment or question. Instead, you always want to go back and have a good tight close to your presentation or your meeting; tie it up with a nice bow. Don’t hesitate to get help. There are many people to help you, and some of them are internal. Remember collaboration. Although I am known for often saying, “Don’t quote dead white men,” many dead white men had some wonderful quotes. Woodrow Wilson our 28th president, said, “I not only use all the brains that I have, but all the brains that I can borrow.”

That’s what you have with collaboration or working with someone who is more of an expert. Whether you have an audience of one or 100 or any number of people in between, principles are universal. The principles in one discipline are the same as the principles in others. When I coach professionals, I tell them that although we are working on a specific presentation, we are really working on every presentation you are ever going to deliver because principles are universal.

One morning I opened a wonderful email. It read, “I’m a big fan of yours. May I interview you for my blog?” I don’t know about you, but I am a short-term project person. At the time I was working on a large project, creating my online learning system, and I was doing my very best not to be distracted. I sent him an email. “Look, I’m flattered. I would love to be interviewed. However, I’m really busy at the moment. Can you contact me in three months?” Then I thought, “Well, before I hit send, why don’t I check his website?”

I picked up the phone and said, “Why is an Emmy award-winning TV interviewer my fan?” We went through a 30-minute interview, and at the end he said, “Patricia, this was such great information. I have enough for at least six blog posts. But, come on, tell me, what is your secret, the number one secret of delivering a powerful, persuasive presentation?” I said, “There is no one secret.” That’s when I realized that a brand new Frippism was about to flow flawlessly from my lips. I said, “Although there is no one secret, if there were, it would be that your subject must be of interest to your audience.”

You might think, “Wow, Patricia, how do I guarantee that?” Very simply, you look at your presentation from the point of view of the people in the audience. I always caution leaders that it’s great if the new initiative is going to be good for your shareholders, but for crying out loud, the people in your audience are your associates, your team members. How are these new initiatives going to be good for them? I work on one basic principle, and I encourage you to do that as well when you’re putting together any planning for an exciting team meeting.

Remember, everyone’s more interested in the way the presentation ties in with their point of view; they’re more interested in themselves than they are in us. If you want to be persuasive and speak as an audience advocate, watch your “I versus you” balance or ratio. I recommend that everyone think of you-focused language. Imagine that your audiences are thinking, “So what?” “Who cares?” “What’s in this message for me?” I must tell you that a high percentage always are. As you put together your outline of what you’re going to discuss or what’s in your presentation, ask yourself how it would apply to the different team members of different departments. As you’re going through your talking points, you might say, “This is how it affects you in HR,” or “This is how it affects you in payroll,” and “This is how it’s going to affect you in IT.”

Let your different segments of audience know that you know they are there. We always want our audience members, whoever they are, to feel that the speaker is talking just to them. To be interesting to our audience, we need to be interested in them. So, to be interesting, be interested. That works in personal everyday communication, and it works with an audience. Develop you-focused language for all your everyday conversations and presentations. “You can feel confident . . .” “It might interest you to know . . .” “Perhaps you believe . . .” “Do you agree . . .” “How often have you . . .” “In your experience . . .”

Those are some that I use. I suggest you come up with some of your own. We connect to our audiences both intellectually and emotionally. Intellectually our content makes people think. We make an emotional connection by appealing to their rational self-interests. You-focused language, good eye contact, and, of course, stories that we’ll be discussing make an emotional connection.

Let’s move on to our next segment. As you mentioned, Laura, many of your community do have to run meetings. We want meetings that will engage, excite, and educate. Usually when I ask my audience members if they have weekly, biweekly, or monthly meetings, everyone puts their hands up. When I ask if they can guarantee that everyone is looking forward to the meetings, I usually have no hands at all. Let’s look at how you can add excitement and enthusiasm, fun and education to meetings. Ask questions to learn about your company industry, last update, corporate communications, or other departments. I know that Laura will agree that the best part of our job is that we learn from our clients.

When we speak at company meetings or conferences, we learn about them, and that makes us more valuable to our other clients. Earlier in my career, I spoke at the USA Today office in San Francisco, and each time I was invited to present at the beginning of the meeting, the manager did what I thought was incredibly innovative. I recommend it to all my clients, and I recommend it to you. At the beginning of the meeting they would ask questions like, “Who writes the editorial column on page three?” “What’s our circulation in Cleveland?” “How many newspapers does the Marriott hotel chain buy from us?”

They simply asked questions about USA Today and their company, and the person who got closest to the right answer got a small prize. It could be a candy bar, a post-it, a pen. The fact is that we all get excited about winning something or knowing information that our friends don’t. When I work with my other clients, they sometimes say, “Patricia, we really appreciate your mentioning our corporate report. We send it out to everyone, but they don’t read it.” I tell them, “Well, in your team meetings why don’t you say that next week’s questions will be about information in your corporate report, or that on Thursday they are going to get an update on one of your projects, and next week’s questions are going to be from that corporate update.”

Again, make your meetings educational and fun. You can even let people know where your questions are coming from. It’s a great way to get them to read the information you’re sending out. Laura, do you think that might be a good idea for most of your clients?

Laura:  I stole the idea myself. Excellent.

Patricia Fripp:  Perfect. There is no better way to get greater visibility in your company than by speaking well. I challenge all my clients to put together a presentation about their department and call other leaders saying, “Hey, do you ever need an extra 10 minutes at your team meetings to try something new and different? Would you like for me to come over and talk about what we do in marketing?” Then you might say, “And I’d love for you to come tell us what we need to know that would make your job easier and increase the impact you have in HR or payroll.” Because the more visibility you have in other areas of the company, the more likely you are to be promoted.

Whether you’re putting together a formal or an informal presentation, always ask yourself, “Why is this important to my audience?” Remember, this is tying into the number one secret. What’s in it for them, what action do you want them to take, and how can you measure success?

Everyone is in a slightly different situation when putting together a presentation. If you are using a presentation you’ve done before, you can go to the slide deck. However, just remind yourself what’s there. Put it to the side and go to your whiteboard or your flip chart and put down ideas that are going to go in this presentation. You might get input from other people. Every presentation follows a process for putting it together. You gather the information, your PowerPoint, or your visual aids, and your handouts are going to be tidy. The creative process is not tidy though. You gather information, collaborate if that’s important, and structure your presentation the way I’m about to show you. You create some opening scripting because the first 30 seconds and the last 30 seconds are vitally important. You build out your chunks of content, adding stories and examples. You decide where you’re going to have your question and answer portion, then challenge the audience, and close. Finally, you rehearse. That is your process.

Every presentation is built around a premise or a big idea, a central theme. I like to ask my clients, if you had one sentence rather than 45 minutes, what would you say? One executive said, “This is a brand-new company.” I said, “Great, write this down: ‘Welcome to a brand-new company.’” That’s a great opening line. Remember, you need to look at why this audience would care and what they want and what they need to hear from you.  These are not going to be your opening lines: “I am going to talk about . . .” or “Thank you for inviting me to speak at this meeting.” I’ll share two options that you can use. From your opening you transition into the premise, the big idea, the key, overarching idea.

If you had one sentence to remember, that’s probably your premise. Now, your points of wisdom are your talking points. I call them points of wisdom because one of my speech coaches used to, and I think it reminds us that there should be wisdom in our information. Now you’re about to see three different ways that you can put together your information. Do you need all three in every presentation? No, they are suggestions, you might pick one of them and go through each chunk of content the same way. It’s up you. For example, Laura, can you give me one point of wisdom, one talking point out of your presentation when you’re teaching time management?

Laura:  A point of wisdom would be to disable the alerts on your technology so you can focus better.

Patricia Fripp:  Once you have introduced that idea, you give an explanation about what you mean. You might give an example of a day in your life before you incorporated this idea. On that day you were driven crazy and totally distracted from the major project you were working on by every single alert you could possibly have. The application is what action you needed to take when you got to your desk. The application is what you would like for them to do. You introduce an idea, give them an explanation of what you mean by that, and then teach them the application. This is especially good if you’re training people in a new job.

You want to go from one point to the other in a seamless transition. If it is a training session, you might take questions at that time. Seamless transition is a pause. You might say, “And the second action we want you to take . . .” or “The second strategy in this year’s plan . . .” That is a transition to the next point. Now some of the information that you might have to deliver or maybe the entire flow of your presentation might be historical. Let’s imagine that you work in HR and you are welcoming new associates to your company. You might say, “Welcome to the ABC company. Congratulations on your wise decision to make this company an important part of your career growth. To help you better understand how you fit into our rich history, let’s go back to the principles on which our founders built this company. In 1932 our founder John Smith said, “We are building our company on the philosophy that . . .”

You’re showing them both the past and the present: “You are stepping into this company at a very successful time.” Then you’re going to describe what the company is now: “We have recruited you because you are the bright, brilliant minds that are going to help us create the future. At every January sales meeting, what do our leaders say? “Congratulations on 2019. What a magnificent year. These were our accomplishments . . . Now this year, these are our goals, our initiatives. And this is what we need you to do because this time next year we would like our future to look like . . .  For example, by January 2021, where do we want to be?’”

At another time you might be addressing a problem with a solution and an example. This is a possible formula. “These were the problems we dealt with last year and the solutions we came up with. Here are some of the examples of how those solutions worked. This is this year’s problem. We need you to help us with the solution, and we would like for you to collaborate with each other to get there.” Then you are going to do your review, and you might say, “We have five minutes for your specific questions,” and then you close. Laura and I and speakers like us apply a particular technique to our presentations. It is a circular technique by which you tie your opening and your close to the same words, ideas, or flavors.

Before they come up with their close, I advise my clients to go back to the beginning and review how they opened in order to see if there’s an opportunity to tie it in. We promised you that you can use this structure to be perpetually prepared for any frequent, unplanned meetings: “Hey, Laura, I didn’t know you were going to be here. Won’t you come up and give us 10 minutes on what you’re doing in marketing?” Updates and reports can be frequent and unplanned. What we want you to do is have structures and opening phrases in your back pocket. You don’t know when you’re going to need them, but you are prepared if the opportunity arises.

The late great comedian Jerry Lewis said, “My best ad-libs take eight hours to write. What makes them ad-libs is you’re not quite sure when you’re going to need them.” Remember that the opening of your presentation, your update, or your meeting is your flavor scene. Most professionals are fine once they get started, but very few know how to open and conclude effectively. Every client, even people I’ve worked with for years, will ask for help with that. They always say, “Hey, I need an opening and a close.” Here are a few examples.

One of my good friends is my next-door neighbor, a senior scientist at Genentech. He was used to giving scientific updates at Genentech, but he didn’t speak to lay audiences. Back in the 90s, I said, “Mike, I want you to come speak to my professional women’s organization about the work you’re doing to develop an AIDS vaccine.” I continued, “Mike, we don’t hang out with scientists. And even if we did, we’d have no idea what they were talking about. So, as your opening, tell us what it’s like being a scientist.”

He said, “Being a scientist is like doing a jigsaw puzzle in a snowstorm at night when you don’t have all the pieces and you don’t have the picture you’re trying to create.” Now I would defy you to come up with a better way than that to describe what you do. As a creative exercise, Laura and I really encourage you to put together a short presentation about your department and go to other team meetings to share it. “Being in marketing is like . . .” “Being in HR is like . . .” Being an accountant is like . . .” If you come up with one while we’re on the line, you can put it in the chat box, and if you think of it later, you can send it to me.

For the end of Mike’s presentation, I said, “Mike, now that you’ve reviewed your three points, I want you to say this: “At the beginning of my presentation, you learned the frustration of being a scientist. Most people ask me, ‘So why would you do it?’ He said, “Last story.” I told him to take two steps forward in silence for dramatic effect. You don’t do that more than twice in a presentation. Otherwise it looks like a technique. And as Laurence Olivier said, “The art is hiding the art.”

Mike’s close was, “We’re at the fourth day of a medical conference, and we’ve been in the same hot, dark room for four days. The last presenter walked from the back of the room. It was a young woman none of us recognized, and she said, ‘I am a 32 -year old wife and mother. I have AIDS. Please work fast.’” And as he told this story to a lay audience, his first lay audience, he got a standing ovation.

Now let’s take these ideas and go back to your meetings. You could start with something as simple as, “Welcome to our Monday meeting.” If you’re reporting to senior management or your boss, just one-on-one, you might say, “The purpose of this meeting is to . . .”

What if you’re in the third row, and the boss says, “Hey, Laura, didn’t know you were here. Come up to the front of the room and give us an update.” You walk, and your back-pocket phrase is, “Thank you for the opportunity to update you on our latest marketing project.” This is part of your back-pocket structure because you need something to say while you’re thinking about what you’re going to say. “You will remember that in January you challenged us to be ready for the June update to the leadership team, and we were. It is now November, and you’ll be excited to know that . . .”

This is a formula. You hold this overview, and that is how you click in, fill in the spaces. You might be thinking, “What do I want from this audience?” “We would like your support with . . .” “Be prepared in January because we’re going to be asking for more budget, too.” That’s how you can be perpetually prepared. “You remember that at our last meeting we congratulated Sylvia for her promotion. In this meeting, let’s look at . . .” Now, this would also work with one of those unplanned opportunities to speak. “Thank you for your support with . . .” It could also work for your own team.

“As we look forward to a successful fall season, the purpose of this meeting is to strategize how we can . . .” What a great inspirational way to start one of your meetings. “We have an amazing opportunity to make this team the heroes of our company.” How about this one? “There will never be a more perfect time to . . .” You can use many of these openings in different ways, but these are designed for meetings. If you’re delivering a more formal presentation, you could start with a question or a little-known statistic. Very often I’ll say to my audience members, my clients, “I know you have an interesting statistic in your presentation. Let’s put it up front.”

On occasion I start a presentation with a statement. “It never ceases to amaze me that intelligent, well-educated, and ambitious professionals frequently overlook developing the number one skill that is guaranteed to position them ahead of the crowd, namely the ability to stand up and speak eloquently with confidence or at least stagger to their feet and say anything at all.”

These are some of the techniques I use. Let’s look at your word choices. When I ask for participation in seminars about people’s opening lines, I often hear, “Have you ever walked into a roomful of strangers you wanted to meet but didn’t know what to say?” You might, however, change just one word: “How often have you felt you weren’t appreciated, or how often have you thought you would have loved to be able to stand up and speak?”

Now this is a situation that repeats itself, so people really want to know what you have to say. Here is a great way to ask it: “Is 2020 the year you double the quality of your presentations?” Perhaps you’ll say yes. Perhaps you’ll say no. Most likely you’ll say, “Patricia, I would love it to be. Can you tell me how?” Well, you’re at the right place at the right time, and in the next 55 minutes you will learn how. You can see that from your opening you can transition into the body of a speech. If you’re going to give an interesting statistic or a little-known fact, add emotion to it. “Would it interest you to know that 74% of executives who can speak without notes make more money than those who can’t?” “Would it surprise you to know . . .” “Would it amaze you to know . . .” “Would it shock you to know . . .”

You used you in that. Now you set up the interesting statistic, and if people hear you, they’re going to wake up. So, you pose and then give them the statistic, and they’re more likely to remember it. If you’re training people to do a job or if you want to get people’s attention, open your presentation with a story. “Mary had a problem.” What are they thinking? “Oh, who’s Mary? What’s her problem?” Now you must give Mary a backstory. Mary was a seasoned HR professional. She had battled corporate and HR battles with all the best Fortune 100 companies. So, what do you now know about Mary? Mary eats problems for lunch. Mary is the one everybody goes to for solutions to their problems. If she has a problem, it must be big. Now, don’t you want to know what comes next?

One Tuesday morning, John walked into Mary’s office and said, “Mary, we’re about to be sued for $32 million, and I think it was my fault.” As my friend Michael Hague, a screenwriting teacher, says, “Get into the scene late.” Very often when people tell stories, they do too much buildup to get to the action. You can always do the backstory once you have the audience’s attention. Remember that the last technique was to transport the audience. Let’s imagine you’re having a team meeting on February 1, 2020. If you say, “Imagine it is February 1, 2021,” what are you doing? You are taking them into the future and painting a picture of how efficient you are, how well you are doing. Then you come back to see what we need to do in 2020 to get there.

If you say, “It was the most exhilarating moment of my life” or “I wish you could have been there,” you’re taking them into the past. How can you conclude your presentation? You might use a rhetorical question. “So how do we manage our time more efficiently?” “How do we become our very own productivity pros?” You’re getting into your premise, you’re doing your review of all your key points, you’re challenging them to take action, to turn off those alerts and all the other techniques that Laura might have already taught you. Then circle with the opening just as Mike Powell did. Look at your opening to see if you can tie it into the close. And always remember that your last words linger. Conclude your presentation, and then have one last sentence that will resonate.

This is the year you want to gain a competitive edge. If there’s a motivational, inspirational, aspirational close, you want to use it through all your meetings for the rest of the year. As you know, the principles in one discipline are the same as the principles in any other discipline. Let’s go to Hollywood as we talk about the business of storytelling, a very popular topic. Robert McKee, a well-known screenwriting teacher, said, “Stories are the created conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience.” The good aspect of stories is that your audience will remember what they see while they listen to you. I work often with sales teams, and people often say to me, “Patricia, it’s almost as if our prospects take seminars from people like you and Laura on how to resist our sales presentation.” I always tell them that people might resist a sales presentation, but nobody can resist a good story that is well-told, and individuals see stories in their own way.

Stories are the best way for you to teach and train, inspire and motivate, inform and educate. Simplify the complex, demonstrate value, and make values concrete. Populate your stories with flesh and blood characters that your audience can relate to. If you’re a leader, someone in senior management, if perhaps you relate to Mary, if you’ve had a situation you messed up, perhaps it’s, “You’re right. We’re going to be sued, and it is my fault.”

Stories are good because they shrink time. Here’s a principle: Stories are always about people. If you’re talking about a person, use their name. You might say that in an industry or a company, we can’t use actual names. It doesn’t matter. All you need to know is Mary; her name could be John. Instead of being in Cleveland, he could have been in Columbus. See, it doesn’t matter. We just want to know the attributes of the person. People have a backstory, their title or years of experience, and we like to hear what they say. When John walked into Mary’s office, I was delivering the dialogue. If that had been transcribed, it would have had quotation marks, “I think we’re going to be sued. I think it’s my fault.” Deliver the dialogue, add your name so it’s clear who is speaking, and imagine quotation marks.

In many of my stories, I say that my other characters talk to me. “Patricia, what would you do if you were in that situation?” All stories need to be edited and rehearsed, of course. One of my executives was going to speak about corporate citizenship, and that part of the speech needed an inspiring touch. It was obvious he was very passionate about this. I said, “Bernard, how would you explain corporate citizenship to your children?” And he said, “Patricia, it was the day after Christmas. I sat both of my children down and said, ‘You are very lucky children, you have generous parents, and you have even more generous grandparents. Perhaps you would like to take one of your gift certificates or one of your presents and give it back to us. We’ll cash it in and take the money and give it to children who are not lucky enough to have homes.’”

And he said, “I was so proud of my 14-year old son who said, ‘Papa, how much do I give? Because I could give you all my pocket money, all my savings, and all my Christmas presents, and it wouldn’t be enough to make a difference. How much do I give?’” And Bernard said, “I told him, ‘Oh, you never give it all. You just give enough that it hurts a little.’” That is how you make an ideal, a principle real. And I mine most of the good stories from the treasure trove of my clients’ lives by asking questions. How would you explain some of the principles you’re talking about in business to your children? You notice that story took less than one minute to tell. And if it were transcribed, it would be nearly all dialogue.

Here’s my friend Michael Hague. “Stories have to be true. They do not have to be 100% accurate.” Stories shrink time. As you’ve heard, I work a lot with sales teams, and one of the most popular stories is the happy customer one. I always tell folks to imagine that one of their best clients called and said, “Help,” and could clearly articulate their problem. That might not be 100% true, but we are shrinking perhaps what took six months to get to that point into a two- or three-minute story. Yes, they must be true, but not necessarily accurate. You shrink it.

Let’s go to one of my absolutely favorite maxims: “Specificity builds credibility.” Are you guilty of the unconscious goof that’s ruining your credibility by using the word stuff? You won’t improve what you’re not aware of, but the word stuff is rubbish and debris, and my clients get a little slap on the hand every time they say it.

Avoid empty language. If you want to build your credibility, be specific. Avoid things and tons and a bunch of.  If it’s not fruit, it’s not a bunch. In other words, how many are you talking about? If you can’t weigh it, it’s not tons. You don’t take a lower stack seminar and learn tons of information. Specifically, you have three pages of actionable notes. If it doesn’t go to sea, it’s not a boatload. One of my clients said, “Oh, Greg just tied a boatload of people.” I said, “It is a dinghy; you’re an ocean liner.” This is the question I frequently ask my clients: If it were not a thing, what would it be?

For example, one of my brilliant engineers in his presentation to their customers at a conference, said, “There are two things people love about . . .” I said, “If they weren’t things, what would they be?” “Innovative upgrades.” Who were the people? There are billions of people in the world. He said, “systems administrators.” Can you see the difference? There are two things people love about . . . There are two innovative upgrades that systems administrators love. Be mindful of the quality of your language.

To review, let’s make sure you remember that outside the privacy of your own home, all speaking is public speaking. The principals in one discipline are the principals in any other discipline. Don’t make the mistakes of not rehearsing or starting late or not collaborating. Use the speech structure for those infrequent meetings and have a standard opening. “Thank you for the opportunity . . .” and perhaps, “In the past . . .” or “In the present, what we need from you . . .” The first 30 seconds have the most impact. Use those opening lines; incorporate them in your meetings. Tell stories with characters and dialogue. And I hope you will remember Fripp. More important than remembering Fripp, remember what Fripp stands for: Frequently reinforce ideas that are productive and profitable.

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