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Bonus: five insights we’ve learnt from Dananjaya Hettiarachchi about telling a story that is compelling and convincing

Mastering the art and science of persuasion is the gold standard of progressive leadership. A skill that is often understood but seldom demonstrated with the consistency and accuracy that is called for by today’s dynamic business environment.

As Mitra Innovation (a technology innovation and digital transformation company based in the UK, Sri Lanka and Australia) takes on an increasing global portfolio of clients, the ability to communicate, connect and influence with ease and confidence becomes a core skill for the organisation’s future leaders.

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, a Human Resources Development (HRD) Specialist – and the World Champion of Public Speaking, 2014 – is partnering with Mitra Innovation through its Future Leader Program to develop Mitra Innovation’s second level of leadership. The Future Leader Program will transform middle management in becoming better communicators, influencers and speakers, through the art of storytelling and persuasive communication.

Dammika Ganegama – Managing Director of Mitra Innovation explained – “We are on a journey to become one of the fastest technology innovators in the market.

The Future Leader Program is aimed at enabling all of us at Mitra Innovation to tell our story better, inspire our clients and be consistent in the way we communicate, connect and influence our teams.

This will ensure that we work as a unified, guided, relentless engineering unit that keeps pushing the boundaries of today’s technology.”

Inspired communications gel teams together and result in shared experiences across the organisation. Improving communications internally and externally is a part of Mitra Innovation’s drive to build leaders that can inspire, work across cultures, and break down silos, while driving a philosophy of continuous learning.

Asela Mendis – Product Manager and facilitator for the Future Leader Program at Mitra Innovation further explained – “Since we started the Future Leader Program at Mitra Innovation in 2017, we have witnessed tremendous improvements in our workforce, such as engineers picking up leadership roles, more enjoyable team working cultures and increases in result oriented individual performances.”

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi uses a blended learning approach that adapts rapid competency development principles to tailor-make the learning interventions for Mitra Innovation leaders. The program is designed to enable participants to become global brand ambassadors equipped with the communication and influencing skills needed to handle both internal and external client demands with ease and confidence

Ganegama continues: “We invited Dananjaya Hettiarachchi to help us on this journey because he is a proven international keynote speaker and performance coach. His insights as a communications and peak performance specialist is exactly what we require to mould our next generation of leaders.”

Here are the five key communication principles we learned from Dananjaya Hettiarachchi about public speaking

1. What’s your message seed?

Today your clients need to know your value proposition as fast as you can say your company’s name. How do you do it without making it look like you are reading out your organisation’s annual report? You need to be able to wrap your core message (value proposition) in a compelling story that helps the listener understand the context. The ability to seed your value proposition (message) in a story that highlights your organisation’s capabilities in an engaging manner, will keep your client engaged and interested

2. The seven second Window

You may be talking to your team or to a client. Whoever is in front of you has an attention window of seven seconds. They listen to you in continuous attention blocks of seven seconds. So, every now and then involve the person into your conversation or talk. The best way to do this is by lining your presentation with rhetorical questions, humour and active audience participation.

3. Read your audience

A good communicator can read the audience as easily as he/she will read a book. The way the audience is seated, how they place their legs, their arms, how they respond to what you say, all tell a story of how engaged they are. Body language is the subconscious expression of how the audience is feeling. If you are an engaging speaker or a communicator you will most often find the audience leaning forward, a typical sign that you have the audience in the palm of your hand. Depending on the body language displayed you will need to adjust your sales pitch, presentation or keynote accordingly.

4. Before selling the product sell the story

We all love a great product but what do we love more? A great product with a great story. Apple, Microsoft and every great brand we have in the world today has a backstory and most clients will pay the premium to be a part of that story. In any sales encounter the ability to weave the backstory into the product helps the clients understand the inherent values, culture and morals of an organisation. Telling a compelling genesis or origin story allows you to create an implicit connection with the client

5. Nothing builds trust like vulnerability

A good communicator, whether it be at a client sales pitch, keynote or presentation shows the right amount of vulnerability to build trust. Trust is a cornerstone of persuasion and influence. It makes you look relatable, it makes your organisation look more human and it shows a level of transparency that builds bridges. Framing your failures and mistakes in the correct way can create a powerful connection between you and your audience. This will allow you to have more transparent conversations as well as create the right expectation levels.

These are but a few of the many tips, tricks and techniques Dananjaya Hettiarachchi is imparting to the leadership team at Mitra Innovation.

Dananjaya Hettiarachchi explained: “We live in a world where we are selling or influencing someone every minute of every day. No matter how technically proficient you are, the ability to communicate in a compelling and convincing manner will take you further and open doors that were previously closed to you. Companies should focus on building a charismatic leadership team that can inspire teams and negotiate through the most complex interpersonal situations with ease and confidence. An inspired workplace has inspired leaders that inspire performance.”

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About the Author

At Mitra Group, we are driven by a team of visionary authors who bring depth and expertise to our digital innovation solutions. Our authors combine passion, knowledge, and creativity to shape the future of technology and business.