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  • Writer's pictureCory Cleveland

Consider This: Read This Before You Open Your Mouth

Why CEOs should think about the impact their words have

My name is Cory, I am the President of Creative Return and the host of The Insider’s Guide To Finance. The following are my insights and learnings from the interviews and dealings I have with talented entrepreneurs, operators, and financiers. I hope you find them valuable in your endeavours.

About a year and a half ago, we did some video work for the Chairman of a multi-billion dollar company. The work was by design meant to be informal, welcoming, and uplifting for his employees despite the global pandemic.

Unfortunately, the message delivered by the Chairman lacked any sort of empathy. Instead, it was an off-the-cuff announcement about the facts and figures that were most important to him. For some reason, this experience stuck with me in an unsavory way.

My recurring memory of this reminded me of an HBR article written by Peggy Klaus about bringing more humanity into executive communications.

I encourage you to read this, but in summary, here are some points to keep in mind:

  • Default to genuine communication that leans more toward emotion vs. logic.

  • Ask yourself what's in it for the listener, as in how are you leaving them better off than when you

  • started your speech.

  • Be willing to be vulnerable as it humanizes you and helps build trust with your team.

When I look back on this client engagement, I realize that there are very successful leaders who default to the facts and figures (to this Chairman's credit, his organization is an outlier of financial success).

However, there was a missed opportunity to bolster the resolve of the team, simply by changing his approach and the words he used.

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