Persuasive Speech - Everything You Need To Know

Persuasive speeches are quite difficult to master since they’re supposed to encourage the audience to take action and agree or disagree with a specific viewpoint. 

But with the right approach, you can create a persuasive speech that’ll leave a skeptical audience enthusiastic to get on board with your company’s project. 

What is a Persuasive Presentation?

What is persuasive speech?

A persuasive speech or presentation features a presenter who is trying to influence the audience or prospect to agree with the points they are covering. 

Persuasive presentations rely on spoken words, visual aids, facts, logic, empathy, story-telling, and more to help the audience accept new information and take action.

How to Plan a Persuasive Presentation

Not sure how to persuade an audience?

Here are 5 ways you can create an effective presentation to persuade your audience:

Decide on a Single Task

Before you start creating your presentation, think about the key point you want to get across. A persuasive presentation is centered around one easy-to-understand focal point. Focusing on too many things could result in the audience losing interest, getting confused, or rejecting the entire thing.

Focus on Fewer (but more relevant) Facts

Ensure the message you’re trying to get across resonates with the audience. You can do this by doing comprehensive research on the audience and finding out how your company’s product or service can solve their problems. 

While presenting, ensure you empathize with the audience and keep their unique concerns in mind.

Build a Narrative Around Your Evidence

A successful presentation tugs at the heart strings of the audience.

What do we mean?

It’s not enough to just win over the audience’s brain – you need to get their hearts in it too! Fortunately, you can connect with your audience easily by sharing a personal story related to your organization and its product or service and by speaking passionately. 

Your audience is only human and a little bit of emotion can help them connect with your company and the value it provides. 

Confidence Matters

Before the big day, ensure you’ve practiced your presentation a couple of times. This includes familiarizing yourself with the speech and visual components that’ll aid your presentation. 

Rehearsing your speech can help you deliver a smooth and confident presentation to the audience. This is crucial since you don’t want to end up pausing a lot or saying “um” way too many times while presenting!

But remember not to memorize the entire thing – you don’t want to sound robotic. So, ensure you familiarize yourself with the entire presentation enough to deliver organically on the day. 

Prepare for Common Objections

While preparing for your presentation, ensure you consider what concerns or objections the audience might have. After all, you don’t want to end up saying “I’m not sure” or “let me get back to you” when a prospect asks you an important question. Not knowing the answers to crucial questions can make the audience think that you’re unprepared or unconfident in your product or service.  

As a result, you need to research the topic of your presentation thoroughly and prepare for common and uncommon questions or objections your stakeholders might pose. This way, you can deliver an incredibly convincing and solid presentation.

If you want to learn more about creating and delivering a persuasive speech, visit the Corporate Class website today.

We offer a Course and Lunch and Learn on presentation skills. In this 1-day experiential presentation skills training workshop, you’ll receive training from expert facilitators who will equip you with the skills, tools, and practice you need to hone your business communication skills

Participants will learn how to persuade an audience, convey leadership and authority, and deliver a professional presentation. 

Contact us today to learn how to deliver a persuasive speech.

How to nail your next sales presentation

So, you’ve spent tons of hours making cold calls, followed up on referrals and inquiries,  and now you’ve got a few sales pitch appointments scheduled. The way you act and deliver your sales presentation will play a significant role in the outcome of the sale – AKA it’ll determine whether or not you close that sale. 

But giving sales presentations can be a daunting experience, especially if you’re not a fan of public speaking, which accounts for around 25.3% of people in the United States. 

Fortunately, regardless of your public speaking fears, you can nail your next sales pitch by preparing properly and using the right tools.

Here are five ways to ensure your sales presentation goes smoothly:

Do Your Research

Begin your research by identifying your target audience or prospect and what problems or challenges they’re currently facing. Without comprehensive and accurate research, your sales pitch won’t have the desired impact or resonate with the prospect either. 

Here are some points you should look into while researching for your presentation:

  • The role of the person in the company
  • The person’s technical background and expertise
  • Basic background information on the organization
  • Background information on the company’s leadership structure
  • Basic financial information about the company
  • And more

Prioritize Personalization

Once you’ve done the proper research, you’ll need to create a custom sales pitch that meets your target audience’s needs and pain points.

Although it’s important to mention the features and benefits of your product or service, only focusing on these points might not resonate with the audience.

As a result, it’s a good idea to listen to your prospect and learn what their challenges are. This way, you can pitch a product or service that solves their problem. And remember to provide persuasive examples that resonate with your organization. 

Support With Visuals Over Text

While writing your speech, ensure you incorporate visuals to support what you’re saying. An easy way to do this is by creating a slideshow with simple graphics to contribute to the presentation. 

Make sure the graphics aren’t too distracting since you don’t want people to lose focus on what you’re saying. This is crucial since Greg Stephens found that an audience that listens to a presenter speak is more strongly affected than an audience who reads a presenter’s slides.

Leverage The Power of Storytelling

It’s a good idea to include some sort of story in your presentation to strengthen or shed light on the point you’re trying to get across.

A well-told story that aligns with your presentation can help you connect with your audience and help the audience remember your presentation.

And who doesn’t love a good story?

Practice Don’t Memorize

When it comes to public speeches and presentations, it’s not uncommon to spend hours memorizing words and sentences in the exact order and repeating lines over and over again until you can recite the whole thing in order. 

Unfortunately, memorizing speeches and presentations can cause unnecessary stress for yourself on the big day and it can diminish the message you’re trying to get across.

If you’re only focused on reciting your speech verbatim, you’ll struggle to deliver the speech passionately, confidently, and organically. 

So, ensure you familiarize yourself with your sales pitch presentation, but don’t worry too much about memorizing the entire thing!

If you want to learn more about creating and delivering the best sales presentation, visit the Corporate Class website today.

We offer a Course and Lunch and Learn on presentation skills. In this 1-day experiential presentation skills training workshop, you’ll receive training from expert facilitators who will equip you with the skills, tools, and practice you need to hone your business communication skills

Participants will learn how to persuade an audience, convey leadership and authority, and deliver a professional sales presentation. 

Contact us today to learn how to deliver the best presentation ever.

3 tips to help you prepare for a presentation

Not sure how to prepare for a presentation?

Although it’s essential to create a fantastic and captivating presentation, it’s equally important to practice that presentation and ensure it runs smoothly.

Being well-prepared on the day can exude confidence, professionalism, and passion to the audience.

Here are three tips to guide you during your presentation preparation:

Outline Your Presentation

Here’s how to plan a presentation:

Creating an outline for your presentation ensures you focus on the main points you’re trying to convey.

Your outline should follow this structure: 

  • Begin with your conclusion in mind
  • Think of 3 words that could create impact below your title as in Di Veni DI Vidi Di Vici  
  • Answer the why of your presentation immediately ,followed by the what when where who and how 
  • Evidences that support the answers to the above
  • Call to action

While creating an outline, ensure you include information that the audience wants to know – not what you can tell them. Additionally, remember how and when the audience will react to specific sections of your presentation, as you’ll need to respond to those moments.

Practice Your Presentation Ahead of Time

It’s crucial to practice your presentation ahead of time. This can help you feel more confident on the big day.

Not sure how to practice for a presentation?

If you can, try to practice your presentation in front of family members or work colleagues. This way, you can present to a real audience, and they can give you constructive feedback. You can also videotape yourself but do not practice in front of a mirror! While rehearsing your presentation, ensure you practice making eye contact and smiling. These factors can help you connect with your audience and showcase your passion for the topic. Smiling can also help you feel less anxious and more comfortable while delivering the presentation. 

Another great idea is rehearsing the presentation in the actual room where you’ll present. This will help you familiarize yourself with the surroundings and how to use the space. Ensure you rehearse with the relevant technology and setup in place, as you don’t want to run into technical difficulties or any unexpected mishaps on the day.

On the day of the presentation, ensure that the room is well lit. This way, the audience can see the slides and your face. 

Read and Revise Your Presentation

While preparing for a presentation, ensure you have an open mind about irrelevant or unimpactful points that should probably be removed. Picture yourself as the audience and consider how specific topics would impact the audience. And remember to make any changes to make your presentation flow better and easier to understand.

Additionally, you need to consider your audience’s persona – are they knowledgeable professionals, newcomers to the industry, or experts? The persona of your audience will guide how you address them and the jargon you use. For example, if you’re speaking to people new to your industry or topic, you’ll need to explain basic terms and deliver the presentation in a simple and accessible way. On the other hand, you won’t need to explain industry terms to experts as you’d expect them to already have comprehensive knowledge in the field. 

If you want to learn more about how to prepare for a presentation and improve your speaking skills, visit the Corporate Class website today.

We offer a one full day course, a Lunch and Learn or private coaching. In the 1-day experiential presentation skills training workshop, you’ll receive training from expert facilitators who will equip you with the skills, tools, and practice you need to hone your business communication skills. During the Lunch and Learn for groups, you will learn everything you need to know about structure and delivery. In private coaching we will focus on your delivery style, your message, your body language and use our  Figaro Social Intelligence platform to analyze your delivery.

Participants will walk away with a newfound ability to deliver engaging presentations, convey leadership and authority, increase their influence and persuasion, and speak with maximum impact.

Contact us today to learn how to prepare for a presentation properly.

4 Things That Men Can Learn from Boundless Women

Have you ever wondered what men can learn from boundless women? Gender should never be a factor in the traits of a successful leader. Ideally, leadership qualities are determined by a person’s personality traits and strengths, whether male or female. In reality, however, when women take on leadership roles, they are often underappreciated and undervalued in comparison to their male colleagues.

Quick disclaimer before we proceed, elocuted by Inkaar actress, Chitrangda Singh: “Feminism is not about male bashing or anti-male, but about gender equality and a sense of equal opportunity!”

Don’t Lean in When You’ve Got Nothing to Lean in About

One of the reasons the world lacks great leaders is that leaders are mostly selected through interviews where opinions are swayed by charisma and confidence. Those who comfortably promote themselves, accept credit for team achievements, and act assertively (or even aggressively) are seen as accomplished and powerful.

Because, according to organizational psychologist Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, men are typically more deceived about their talents than women are”, they are not shy about blowing their own trumpets. Thus, men are perceived and chosen as formidable leaders. No wonder writer Nell Scovell collaborated with Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, in 2013 to write a book that advocates that women “press ahead, project confidence, “sit at the table and physically lean in” to be heard in the workplace.

The only problem with that is that there has never been any link between the competence of candidates and their ability to lean in. Now is the time to ditch stereotype honchos and applaud authenticity. Rather screen applicants for their expertise, experience, and essential leadership skills such as acumen, humility, compassion, integrity, and a growth mindset.

Know Your Own Limitations

If social media and gender stereotypes are to be believed, women are a bundle of insecurities. While it’s true that one of many gender differences is the self-critical nature of women, it is more about self-awareness than self-flagellation.

There is a two-fold upside to this:

1. Great leaders have a healthy dose of humility. Instead of pretending to have all the answers and be masters of everything, they:

  • Know their strengths and weaknesses
  • Harness the aptitudes of everyone in their network
  • Are approachable and receptive to new ideas
  • Welcome and applaud the contributions of others.

2. Being aware of their limitations directs the effort women put into bridging the gap between where they are and where they would like to be. Because women are generally less overconfident than men, female leaders tend to work harder at increasing their ability and performance.

Motivate Through Transformation

Across all industries, change is unavoidable. Transformational leadership can help employees not only accept change but embrace it by cultivating a culture of accountability and autonomy.

Transformational leaders inspire higher levels of engagement, performance, and productivity by:

  • Championing self-motivation and personal development
  • Demonstrating integrity and urging the same of others
  • Nurturing an ethical work environment based on unambiguous values, standards, and priorities.
  • Fostering a company culture where employees move from self-interest to working towards a shared goal
  • Promoting authenticity, collaboration, and frank communication
  • Offering coaching and mentoring but encouraging professional independence in employees.

Academics have long established that women are more likely to lead and motivate others by the transformation of their attitudes and beliefs. Men would be better leaders if they too influenced people with meaning and purpose.

Put Your People Ahead of Yourself

More than anything else, great leaders have integrity. Part of being a leader with integrity is putting your ego aside and valuing individuals and your team above tasks and results.

Women are less inclined to seek out leadership roles purely because they want the status of a corner office, impressive title, or larger paycheck.

When we embrace the power of our feminine skills, we are redefining leadership where feminine is as strong and powerful as the masculine.” -Birute Regine, EdD, Founder of Iron Butterfly Power Circles

Would you like to put what men can learn from boundless women into practice at work? Our self-paced online leadership training program provides a step-by-step process to develop your leadership skills. Contact Corporate Class Inc. for more information.

The Top 3 Tips for Emerging Female Leaders

Emerging female leaders face challenges that male leaders don’t face. Discover the top three tips for emerging female leaders here.

1. Practice Resilience

Life has a habit of throwing us curveballs. Despite the best laid plans, everyone goes through ups and downs – from everyday struggles to catastrophic incidents that reverberate longer-term. Every shift has a different impact on people, bringing with it a unique set of perceptions, powerful emotions, and uncertainties. While these difficulties are undoubtedly painful and challenging, they do not have to define you.

As defined by psychologists, resilience is the capacity to handle difficulties mentally or emotionally and quickly return to pre-crisis status. By readily overcoming the stress of tragedy and trauma, adversity, threats, or failure, resilient women not only recover, but often emerge stronger on the other side.

While there is a genetic predisposition to resilience, psychologists have noticed various characteristics common to resilient people, including:

  • Optimism and a positive outlook
  • An internal locus of control – belief that you are the author of your destiny.
  • The ability to regulate emotions
  • The capacity to view failure as valuable feedback.

Follow these best practices to develop your resilience:

  1. Beat the negative impact of stress with good nutrition, sufficient sleep, regular exercise, and mindfulness or other spiritual practices. Building your body’s reserves helps you avoid unhealthy outlets such as drugs and alcohol.
  2. Develop and nurture relationships with people who are trustworthy and kind and who acknowledge your feelings.
  3. Practice introspection and emotional intelligence. Be proactive in looking for ways to deal with the issue, learn from your past behavior, and constantly refer to your moral compass and personal values.

2. Have Humility

Not to be confused with being meek, submissive, or lacking self-confidence, humility is “absence of vanity or excessive pride”. As part of a leadership style, humility is an attribute of great leaders.

The positive impact of female leaders redirecting positive attention from themselves to the performance of the team inspires increased employee engagement, greater job satisfaction, and lower staff turnover rates. These successful leaders treat everyone with respect, admit their mistakes, share the credit for successes, and grow by learning from what others have to offer.

If one of your professional goals as part of the next generation of women leaders is to heighten your humility, here is an action plan:

  • Listen. Spend time actively listening to others. Be open-minded and curious rather than protective of your point of view. Not only will others feel heard and valued, but you will also gain a better understanding of organizational needs. Hearing the insights of your team members will help you to make better decisions about performance and new opportunities.
  • Acknowledge. Gratitude lets you channel your drive back into the organization and leads to an optimistic, humble state of being.
  • Ask. Humility includes acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers. Women leaders who are humble ask for help, are open to innovative solutions, and seek feedback regarding their performance. This further serves as inspiration for a culture of personal development in the workplace.
  • Reflect. Review your actions to keep yourself in check. Those in top leadership positions are often mentors and coaches. You may find yourself slipping into those roles in situations when allowing rather than pushing would be more appropriate.
  • Accept. Women’s leadership ambitions focus on constant improvement. As valuable as that is, there is also a need to accept what is without judgement. Move from “seeking approval to seeking enlightenment”. Only once you dispassionately recognize your strengths and weaknesses can you appreciate and dovetail the competence and contributions of peers and employees.

3. Play to Your Strengths (Not Your Weaknesses)

Following on from the last action above, berating yourself for your shortcomings is counterproductive. But that does not mean that you shouldn’t strive to do better.

Globally, business leaders agree that focusing all your energy on fixing your weaknesses is a distracting and frustrating use of your time. Identifying what strengthens you and then cultivating your strengths will empower you. Playing to your strengths helps you to flourish and build a successful career in your leadership role.

If you want to step into your power with confidence, join fellow emerging female leaders for our Women in Leadership Masterclass. Contact Corporate Class Inc. for more information.

Boundless Women of 2022

Who are the boundless women of 2022? If we define boundless as “unfailing, dependent, infallible”, all women fit the description! However, for the sake of this article, the boundless definition applies to women whose power is rising – having been nominated, recruited, or advanced to a powerful position, attained tremendous wealth or acclaim, or used their resources and talents to forge meaningful change around the world?

The Women to Watch This Year

Mia Mottley became the first female prime minister of Barbados in 2018. She shot to international fame by castigating the leaders gathered at the COP26 U.N. climate conference, “Failure to provide enough critical funding to small island nations is measured in lives and livelihoods in our communities. This is immoral, and it is unjust.”

Shortly thereafter she cut ties with the British monarchy who had reigned over Barbados for 396 years and transitioned it as the world’s newest republic. Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the Caribbean island’s president.

Mottley then proceeded to win a landslide second term in January this year – where her Labor party (BLP) won a clean sweep of all 30 seats. In her victory speech, Mia Mottley vowed to “lead the country first to safety then to prosperity”.

Najla Bouden Romdhane became Tunisia’s first female prime minister in October last year. Originally a professor of geology by profession, her experience in politics comes from her 2011 appointment as the former director-general of quality for Tunisia’s Ministry of Higher Education.

Despite that, political commentators have been skeptical of the legality of Romdhane’s authority – she was, after all, recruited by President Kais Saied who suspended parliament and assumed executive authority for himself in July. President Saied is hoping that appointing the first ever female prime minister in the Arab world will illustrate that Tunisia under his rule is a progressive democracy.

Kathleen Courtney (Kathy) Hochul, the former lieutenant governor of New York, was sworn in as the state’s first ever female governor in August 2021. This followed a months-long investigation of sexual harassment and subsequent resignation of former governor, Andrew Cuomo. New York State’s 57th governor acknowledged the boundless “women that came before me… and I felt they passed the torch to me.

With degrees in both political science and law, Hochul was drawn to a career in public service. At the age of 35, she won a seat on the Hamburg Town Board serving as liaison for the local economic development agency tasked with boosting the economy of Western New York following the loss of its manufacturing base. That was followed by the role of Erie County Clerk and then serving in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As Lieutenant Governor, Hochul effectively spearheaded several initiatives and was noted as being “busier than any lieutenant governor in recent memory by far” by Robert Bellafiore.

Angela F. Williams is one of our women of faith with a Master of Divinity (cum laude from the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology) on top of her bachelor’s degree in American government from the University of Virginia and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Texas.

Having been raised in a military family, after law school, Williams served on active duty in the U.S. Air Force Judge Advocate General’s Corps when few Black women served in JAG. From there she accumulated over 30 years of leadership experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors:

  • Special counsel on criminal law on Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s Senate Judiciary Committee
  • Prosecutor on the Civil Rights Division’s National Church Arson Task Force (DOJ)
  • Assistant U.S. Attorney
  • Vice president and also general counsel at Sears Holdings Corp
  • Interfaith liaison for the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund
  • Executive VP, general counsel, and chief administration officer at YMCA of the USA.

Fast-forward to more recent times, and Williams was president and CEO of Easterseals, Inc., an organization that serves more than 1.5 million people with disabilities nationwide. Putting her talents and passions to work yet again, Williams was named on Forbes’ 2021 List of Women 50 Over 50 Creating Social Change at Scale, and presented with a 2021 CEO Today Healthcare Award. She is currently the president and CEO of United Way Worldwide, the largest privately funded non-profit in the world.

Are you an emerging female leader ready to step into your power with confidence? Repeat this: “I am boundless”, and then join fellow boundless women for our Women in Leadership Masterclass and other upcoming events. Contact Corporate Class Inc. for more information.

Better leadership starts with compassion

What would you say are the key traits of effective leadership? Focus, the ability to motivate, perseverance – these are all important, but they tend to focus on tasks rather than people. Great leadership comes from the realization that it is your people, not your products, that are most important to your organization. The key trait when it comes to people-oriented leadership is compassion. Leaders haven’t always understood the connection between compassion and leadership, but it really is central to an organization’s success, especially in uncertain times.

Not only is it important to be compassionate yourself, and to treat your team members with compassion. You need to encourage a culture of compassion among your team as well. Compassion should be one of the hallmarks of your organization’s internal and external connections, alongside gratitude and pride.

Cultivating compassion in your team

Gratitude, pride and compassion are not just HR watchwords. Cultivating these three interlocking emotional traits will always have a positive effect on your business outcomes too. Innovation and achievement are team efforts, and all teams that recognize and nurture the emotional needs of their members will do better in the long run. Each team member is hired for their specific set of skills, expertise and experience, but these must be combined through active cooperation in order to reach the best results. In turn, effective cooperation comes about through strong social bonds. These bonds can only be created and developed through compassionate communication among your team members, a sense of shared gratitude for the organization’s resources, goals and incentives, and a strong bond of mutual pride in the outcomes. Although the unifying emotions of gratitude, pride and compassion must permeate the team as a whole, it is up to the leaders to initiate them and ensure that they are instilled in each member and the collective. 

Traditional motivational tactics have often involved a combination of discipline and incentive. “Just keep your head down and do the work, and you will each see rewards in the end.” While this approach does yield limited success, it is no substitute for a team that is self-driven, bonded by a sense of compassion for one another, and united in shared gratitude and pride for their organization and their places in it. Simple discipline has a tendency to isolate, while gratitude, compassion and pride cause people to behave in more supportive and mutually encouraging ways. As a result, leaders who encourage pride, gratitude and compassion are sure to have happier, more motivated teams, and will experience increased productivity and innovation as a result. Compassion, in particular, builds dedication. People who work in conditions characterized by trust, acceptance and social cohesion, demonstrate heightened engagement, better performance, higher energy levels, lower absenteeism and increased work satisfaction. 

Compassion, gratitude and pride motivate individuals and teams to cooperate and invest in themselves, their colleagues, their organizations and products. They encourage each team member to appreciate their part in the team and the process, and thus to strengthen their commitment to the organization’s goals. Individuals who experience compassion from their colleagues and leaders, and who respond in kind, as well as feeling proud of their contribution to communal achievements, are sure to be happier and more productive team members.

Corporate Class Inc. is a global authority in leadership coaching and empowerment. We strive to develop exceptional leaders and to assist organizations in developing effective leadership approaches. Based in Toronto, and with a worldwide presence, we have helped to nurture mindful leaders since 1984. Contact us for more information on the connections between compassion and leadership, and how to develop mindful, empathic leadership practices.

4 tips to lead with compassion

We all want to be enthusiastic and positive leaders, ones who inspire our team members to contribute and excel. We want to foster teams that thrive and that seem to generate their own abundant energy. We want to be leaders who connect with our team members, identify their strengths and weaknesses and help them work with both. How do we foster that ability to connect? Here are four steps to help you lead with compassion.

Embrace self-awareness and self-compassion

Success as a leader starts with you – how you treat and understand yourself. Your step, therefore, is to accept your own feelings and reactions. Be compassionate with yourself as you assess your own responses and your perceived strengths and weaknesses. How much do you expect of yourself? How do you respond to yourself when something goes wrong, or when a deadline is looming, and you need to push yourself through an 80-hour week to achieve it? Be kind to yourself. Practise discipline by all means, but also know when to take your foot off the gas, and even give yourself some acknowledgement and rewards.

Develop a gratitude practice

Never underestimate the power of gratitude. It has genuine, measurable positive effects on your mental health. Too many people – leaders among them – focus on problems, faults, shortfalls and crises. Their approach to daily tasks and to leadership will reflect this focus. A negative focus will not foster a compassionate and success-driven approach. Choose to cultivate gratitude instead, and let this drive your approach both to the daily routine and unforeseen crises. This will require you to take a step back from your busy schedule for just a few minutes each day. Just take a moment to pause and reflect on what makes you feel grateful. This helps clear your mind of distractions, allowing you to focus more clearly on the present and uncover hidden opportunities. Once you have mastered this approach, you can easily share it with your team members – it is amazing how contagious feelings of gratitude and contentment can be.

Practice and hone emotional intelligence

Business is never just business. While it is important to behave professionally, doing so does not require repressing your emotions for the duration of the working day. On the contrary, you and your team should be encouraged to bring your emotions to the workplace and express them in an adult manner, while also honing your ability to listen to, and understand the emotions of others. Encourage open-mindedness and the willingness to share.

Embrace curiosity, open-mindedness and innovation

Being a leader does not mean that you must come up with all the ideas, nor does it mean that everyone needs to think as you do. On the contrary, diversity of thought is crucial to the success of any enterprise. You must always be curious about new ways to approach your work. You should always ask your team members to contribute their thoughts on the subject and show a willingness to adopt their ideas if they prove tenable and constructive. Encourage everyone to share this approach, sharing ideas openly and actively seeking and discussing ways to innovate, to reach goals more efficiently, and produce better outcomes. This fosters an environment of collaboration in which each team member feels that they have a part to play, and that their contributions are appreciated. It also lays a strong foundation for growth and innovation, helping your business move forward into an uncertain and fast-moving future.

Corporate Class Inc. is a global authority in leadership coaching and empowerment. We strive to develop exceptional leaders and to assist organizations in developing effective leadership approaches. Based in Toronto, and with a worldwide presence, we have helped to nurture mindful leaders since 1984. Contact us for more information on how to develop mindful leadership and lead with compassion.

Cultivating compassionate leadership during the pandemic

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic reach further into our daily lives than many of us understand or are prepared to admit. It is not simply a matter of changing the way we do business every day, or the way we interact with our colleagues and clients. These are simply the most obvious, external consequences of the crisis. It has affected each of us on a deeper level, with feelings of fear and uncertainty affecting our view of the future. Managing a team in this environment, moving companies forward through the pandemic, requires compassionate leadership.  

The psychological cost of Covid-19 

A crisis on the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic triggers a complex range of psychological responses, including feelings of distress, a general increase in negative affect and heightened sensitivity to emotional stimuli. Under these conditions, people look around for a place of safety – familiar people and situations that can help ease their feelings of fear and hopelessness. The struggle to adjust to such drastic changes in our daily environment can trigger feelings of grief, shock, anger, denial and depression. 

It is in these circumstances that strong, mindful leaders really come to the forefront. The problem is that leaders are also feeling the effects of the crisis and are dealing with their own feelings of grief and fear. Unless you, as a leader, are mindful of your team members’ feelings in this situation, you can very easily retreat into your own survival mechanisms, busying yourself with various tasks and addressing operational issues that draw your attention away from rising sentiments of fear and distress. Mindful leaders will take note of these impulses and use them to drive a renewed, conscious and compassionate leadership approach that will help to pull themselves and their team members out of the mire and move forward through the crisis. Recognizing and understanding one’s own fears can help one to be more compassionate towards others – and that compassion is a vital trait for leaders during a crisis like the global pandemic.

How to practise compassion during the pandemic

You can foster mindful, compassionate leadership during this crisis (or any other, for that matter) with the following four practices: understand and integrate your own feelings, practise daily gratitude, open yourself to the care and empathy of others, and finally, turn outward to project your self-knowledge and compassion towards others. 

Create time for self-awareness. Look at your own feelings and responses towards the crisis, and identify them without judging them. You may notice feelings of anxiety, or heightened physical or emotional sensitivity. Simply understand these impulses for what they are and show compassion for yourself. Spend some time with yourself each day, and be aware of how you are feeling. During this time, also make a conscious effort to practise gratitude. Conscious gratitude is highly beneficial for mental health. It renews and inspires and helps to counter feelings of fear and hopelessness. Be willing to be more open and vulnerable with your feelings and be willing to accept expressions of care and compassion from others. Finally, turn outward and share this compassion and understanding with your team members. In doing so, you can help to develop a new perspective on the situation, unify your team, take better care of your team members and encourage them to care for each other, and ultimately, reframe the crisis and develop a plan to get through it and thrive.  

Corporate Class Inc. is a global authority in leadership coaching and empowerment. We strive to develop exceptional leaders and to assist organizations in developing effective leadership approaches. Based in Toronto, and with a worldwide presence, we have helped to nurture mindful leaders since 1984. Contact us for more information on how to foster mindful and compassionate leadership.

How to transform into a mindful leader

A mindful leader is someone selfless, present, and non-judgemental. They lead with creativity, compassion, and to serve others. Additionally, mindful leaders can balance their workload while managing their team’s workload while managing stress levels. 

Suppose you wish to practice mindfulness at work and in your personal life. In that case, you need to understand the characteristics of mindful leadership and practices you can adopt to transform into a mindful leader.

Some of these practices include:

  • Perform mindfulness exercises: Some common mindfulness exercises include sitting and walking meditation, deep breathing, journaling, and single-tasking. If none of these activities speak to you, try searching for some mindfulness exercises online and choose those that appeal to you the most. Whatever activity you choose, ensure you practice it regularly. 
  • Disconnect regularly: Disconnecting refers to taking breaks or time-outs during your workday, so you get a moment to relax. Additionally, you might find yourself to be more productive and creative after your break. The Pomodoro technique can help you manage your time and help you disconnect systematically. The method divides your workday into 25-minute sessions, separated by five-minute intervals. 
  • Relabel stress: When you handle your everyday work activities, it’s common to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Mindful leaders manage workplace stress by pulling themselves back into reality and dealing with their current environment and tasks. 
  • Mindfulness leadership training: Mindfulness isn’t instantaneous; it requires practice and dedication. As a result, many senior leaders enroll in mindfulness programs to help them be more intuitive, focused, and aware of their present environment. 

Benefits of mindful leadership

Mindfulness helps leaders manage their day-to-day tasks and cater to the well-being of their teammates. This is crucial since today’s world is filled with distractions and uneasiness that can affect a leader’s thought process. As a result, mindfulness helps leaders and team members to regain their focus quickly.

Here are the other significant advantages of mindful leadership:

Reduced stress

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, stress is the brain and body’s natural response to change, challenge, or demand. Stress is how our bodies react against the thought of danger or an event that makes us feel uncomfortable and nervous. A key component of mindfulness, present-moment awareness, can help monitor and understand your current experiences instead of focusing on future events or dwelling on the past. This way, your mind can focus on the present, increasing stress resilience and effective coping. Additionally, by staying in the present, you can deal with your stressors and overcome all your challenges when and if they happen.

Increased attention

Practicing mindfulness can help you dedicate your attention and skills to the current task at hand. This way, you’re less likely to fall victim to the distractions and other stimuli around you. 

Improved relationships

As a mindful leader, you can form more positive relationships with employees. Your ability to be compassionate and empathetic, as well as your enhanced listening skills, can help you communicate with your team clearly, offer constructive feedback, and create a transparent work environment filled with creativity and productivity.  

Boosted creativity

Mindfulness is also about being innovative and developing solutions to complex problems. For example, mindfulness meditation can open your mind to new ideas and help you understand the viability of those ideas. 

If you recognize that you have a long way to go before becoming a leader, you’re on the right path. Contact Corporate Class today to develop your skills and transform into a mindful leader. 

We offer high-quality mindful leadership training, coaching, and consulting to some of the world’s largest Fortune 500 companies across the globe.