Rise Performance Group

How Should a Leader Handle a Verbal Attack on Their Point of View

How should a leader handle a verbal attack on their point of view?

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told a short story.  He was defending the Republican Party against criticism that it was indifferent to the plight of poor people.

The audio is a bit low on this short clip of Cantor, so turn up the volume and hear how he defends the GOP.




What was missing from Cantor’s story? Bob Kaplitz asks.    He didn’t attack Democrat Nancy Pelosi, whom he was responding to.  Instead, Cantor took the high road.  Anyone aspiring to become a leader does just that.  And by telling a short story, he connected emotionally with viewers.   Also, Bob Kaplitz and Mark Fenner recommend:

  1. Plan your story starting with the takeaway message. Think about what’s important to the audience. The ending is the most important point of the story. This is the message we want to deliver, and the one that will linger with the audience.
  2. Keep your stories short.  Three to five minutes long works well.  Shorter even better.
  3. Find the challenge or conflict. Without these elements, stories aren’t very interesting. The compelling part of a story is how people deal with conflict–-so start with the people and the conflict.
  4. Think about your story like a movie. Imagine what it would like as a movie to get your message across. The story has to have a beginning, middle, and end.
  5. Start with a person and their challenge.  Add descriptions of place and people’s emotions.
  6. A good story always has ups and downs, so “arc” the story. Pull people along by including the tension.

Leaders use stories to connect with people.  Look for opportunities to take advantage of them.  Most of us tell a stories already.  For example:  “How did things go at the office today?”  That leads to a story.

And it’s rare to see a politician or President who doesn’t tell a story with a main character to get their political point across.  In fact, sometimes several of those people are standing behind the politician or President.  Yes, sometimes that looks awkward because it’s obviously staged.

Use the Power of Story and other tools to develop the leadership qualities of your team or yourself.  Turn managers into leaders to improve productivity, and the bottom and top line.  Contact Bob Kaplitz and Mark Fenner at the Rise Performance Group at 214.766.4236.

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