Seven Secrets to Speaking Your Mind

By Carmine Gallo
Ignite Your Enthusiasm
You cannot inspire unless you’re inspired yourself. Here’s a hint. It’s not about “the widget,”


but how the widget—your product or service—will improve the lives of your customers. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz doesn’t sell coffee. He sells the idea of a third-place between work and home. Dig deep to find your true passion and that’s the message you must convey consistently.

Make Vision, Not Mission
A mission statement is a long, convoluted paragraph destined to be tucked into a drawer somewhere and forgotten. A vision is a one-line description of a better future made possible by your service or product. Craft a one-line vision that is ten words or less. When the Google guys asked for venture capital funding, they pitched their search technology by saying, “Google provides access to the world’s information in one click.”

Exude Command Presence
Talk, walk and look like a leader who people want to follow by adopting these five qualities:
1. Make eye contact 80-90% of the time in a business setting.
2. Sit up, stand tall and maintain an open posture by not putting anything between you and the listener (e.g., folding arms across your body is considered closed).
3. Use hand gestures. Appropriate gestures reflect complex thinking. Take your hands out of your pocket.
4. Vary the rate and tone of your vocal delivery.
5. Pause…for impact.

Sell the Benefit
To get what you want, put your listeners first. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s about them. Your listeners are asking themselves, “Why do I care?” Answer the question. Don’t leave them guessing.

Connect with Stories
Tell personal stories to grab your listeners’ attention and to help them understand ideas. In every conversation where you hope to get what you want, have a personal, but relevant story ready to share with your listeners. It can be as simple as why you joined the company.

Be a Beacon of Hope
Former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, once said that optimism was the secret behind President Ronald Reagan’s charisma. Radiate optimism. Don’t sound discouraged and disillusioned. Acknowledge challenges but end your conversation with reasons for hope.

Fill Emotional Tanks
People are hungry for local fame. In other words, they want to be praised and recognized in front of their peers. Each day at every Ritz-Carlton hotel in the world, employees gather for a staff meeting where they hear stories of exceptional customer service from one of their colleagues. Give the people around you their “15 minutes” and watch your influence soar!

- Carmine