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Volume 5, Issue 50

Speak with Passion, Not Emotion

Effective leaders are also effective communicators who are able to successfully combine the right amount of passion with emotion in their speeches, one leadership expert writes.

"Passion in speaking is like spice in cooking. If you've ever added cayenne pepper to a dish, you know you need to be careful to use just the right amount," writes Anett Grant in Fast Company. "Too much emotion in your speaking is like dumping in a whole tablespoon of hot pepper—it'll be the only thing anyone will notice, and they won't want to finish."

Grant offers five pieces of advice for effective, passionate communication:

  • Don't let the passion overshadow the content. Passionate speakers are vibrant and animated when relating their message. But your words can be overshadowed by intense emotion, Grant writes.
  • Be deliberate with gestures. Many speakers walk around and use hand gestures when speaking in front of an audience. But if a speaker is too emotional, his or her hand gestures can become unwieldly and distracting, Grant advises.
  • Use a powerful, not loud, voice. Effective speakers use a clear and commanding voice—not a loud and booming voice, Grant writes. Leaders should avoid using a loud, sharp voice, as it can come across as though you are yelling.
  • Keep your tone balanced. If you use a high-energy, passionate voice the entirety of your speech, your audience can become overwhelmed. Don't lose their attention, Grant writes, and incorporate calm and constructive "valleys" that will emphasize your important, passionate "peaks."
  • Stay on target. Energized, excited speakers can derail from their subject. Stay on track and on target to effectively get your point across, Grant writes.

This article is from the Advancement Weekly, June 20, 2016 issue.

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