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The Secret Language of Leadership
with Steve Denning

When: March 27, 2008
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How do you persuade people to want to adopt something new, something different, even something a little strange? How do you spark enduring enthusiasm for a cause, even in difficult, cynical skeptical audiences? In this session, Steve Denning, author of The Secret Language of Leadership, will show what's involved using stories to engage staff or clients quickly and compellingly and spark action. They will learn why traditional approaches to communication don't work and discover how to get an audience's rapt attention, how to make a complex idea sound simple and intelligible, and how to reinforce the desire for taking action with powerful, memorable reasons.

In this session, you will:

  • Understand why the traditional communication (state problem; analyze problem; give solution) not only doesn't work, it's counter-productive
  • Understand how we can fundamentally rethink communication so as to make a step change in our communication effectiveness
  • Know how to engage people's positive emotions and connect with people at a deeper level
  • Know how to get people on the edge of their seats so that they give rapt attention to what you are about to say
  • Learn when to stress the negative and when to accentuate the positive
  • Discover how to get an audience's attention and learn which work best
  • Discover how to stimulate desire in people to want to change, even before they have understood the reasons for change
  • Learn how to make your reasons compelling and memorable, so that you will never be boring again

Target Audience: Any individual or team faced with a change they need to lead themselves and others through. The changes may be professional new technology, new government regulations, recent or pending mergers or acquisitions, new product launch, new sales incentive plan, organizational restructuring, promotion or demotion, new boss, new management team or personal: or someone in your family or community who needs to act differently. This session is for anyone going through change, or anyone trying to make change happen.

Speaker Biography

Steve Denning, organizational storyteller extraordinaire, is the author of several books on leadership and organizational storytelling, including The Secret Language of Leadership (Jossey-Bass 2007), selected by the Financial Times as one of the best 16 business books of 2007, and honored in the 800-CEO-READ competition as the best book on leadership in 2007. Denning is also the author of The Leader's Guide to Storytelling (Jossey-Bass 2005), and the article Telling Tales, published by Harvard Business Review in May 2004.

Steve is the former program director of knowledge management at the World Bank. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the James McGregor Burns Academy of Leadership at the University of Maryland.