Mastering the Language of Leadership with Simon Lancaster


Join host Jamie Mason Cohen on an insightful episode of TEC Canada’s The Leadership Standard podcast as he engages with distinguished speechwriter Simon Lancaster to uncover the secrets of effective leadership communication. In this thought-provoking conversation, Cohen and Lancaster delve into the historical foundations of communication, exploring the enduring relevance of Aristotle’s ethos, logos, and pathos. They shed light on the importance of understanding and connecting with your audience, with Lancaster advocating for a deep dive into demographics, motivations, and concerns.

As the discussion unfolds, Lancaster emphasizes the power of emotions over logic in influencing listeners. He champions the “less is more” principle in speechwriting, highlighting the impact of concise and impactful messages. Drawing from his own preferences and experiences, Lancaster reveals his admiration for impactful rhyming statements and his commitment to physical health, which he believes contributes to effective communication.

Moving forward, the conversation takes a deeper dive into the significance of positive visualization and crafting clear and compelling metaphorical narratives for impactful speeches. Lancaster shares insights from neuroscience findings, highlighting the power of metaphor and storytelling in capturing the attention and engaging the minds of the audience.

In the context of the digital age, Lancaster emphasizes the changing landscape of speechwriting and the need to adapt to new platforms and mediums. He encourages listeners to embrace technology while staying true to the timeless principles of effective communication.

To provide practical strategies for speechwriting, Lancaster introduces a six-step technique rooted in ancient rhetorical principles. He breaks down each step, offering valuable insights and examples to help aspiring speechwriters craft powerful and persuasive messages.

Throughout the episode, Lancaster’s expertise shines as he demonstrates the importance of vision for a company. He shares anecdotes and real-life examples that illustrate how a compelling vision can inspire and motivate both employees and stakeholders.

This captivating episode of TEC Canada’s The Leadership Standard podcast offers a wealth of knowledge and practical advice for anyone looking to enhance their leadership communication skills. Tune in to unlock the art of effective leadership communication and gain valuable insights from the expertise of Simon Lancaster.

About Simon Lancaster

Join host Jamie Mason Cohen in an inspiring conversation with Daniel Pink, a seven times, New York Times best-selling author.

Simon Lancaster is one of the world’s leading speechwriters. He first started writing speeches for members of Tony Blair’s Cabinet in the late 90s and has since gone on to write speeches for the CEOs of some of the biggest companies in the world, including HSBC, Intercontinental Hotels and Unilever.

He has a Masters Degree in Mass Communications is an Executive Fellow of Henley Business School and Southampton Business School. He lectures on communication at Cass Business School, Cambridge University and Gresham College.

His first book, ‘Speechwriting: The Expert Guide’, was published in 2009 to great acclaim and his second book, ‘Winning Minds: Secrets from the Language of Leadership’ was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2015 and is an Axiom Business Book Award Winner.

Simon is a regular media commentator on communication and regularly appears in GQ, PR Week, The Mail, The Guardian, Total Politics and the BBC. As well as writing many speeches for top politicians and business people, he is also highly sought after in his own right as a keynote speaker for business conferences. His TEDx Verona ‘Speak Like A Leader’ talk has had more than three million views.

Episode Highlights

00:00 – Introduction
Jamie Mason Cohen introduces our guest, Simon Lancaster, highlighting his background as a speechwriter, author, and executive fellow.

02:41 – Foundations of Leadership Communication
Mr. Lancaster discusses Aristotle’s three-legged stool (ethos, logos, and pathos) and the importance of starting with a joke for emotional connection.

05:27 – The Three Elements in Effective Communication
Mr. Lancaster emphasizes the need for ethos, logos, and pathos in communication. Discussion on aligning these elements to avoid disconnect with the audience.

07:13 – Applying Ethos, Logos, and Pathos in Business
Our guest provides an example of applying ethos, logos, and pathos in a business leader’s speech about the company’s vision.

09:18 – Link Between Leadership and Communication
Mr. Lancaster highlights the crucial link between great leadership and great communication, emphasizing the ability to inspire and connect with people.

11:01 – Three Principles of Effective Communication
Mr. Lancaster shares three principles: The audience is more important than the speaker, emotions are more powerful than logic, and less is more.

14:43 – Getting to Know the Audience
Discussion on visualizing specific audience members and addressing their needs. Emphasis on speaking to the cynical audience member for broader impact.

16:57 – Strategies for “Less Is More”
Discussion on simplicity and clarity in delivering impactful speeches. Emphasis on a clear speech title and building simplicity of message.

19:39 – Speech Writing: Opening and Four Steps
Simon Lancaster establishes a strong opening and a structured approach to speech writing in four steps.

21:31 – Step Five – Refutation and Roaring Climax
Transition into the fifth step, focusing on refutation and building towards a roaring climax. Encourage the use of persuasive techniques.

22:12 – Johnny Cochran’s Famous Speech – Creativity and Positive Preparation Our guest analyzes. Lancaster’s famous speech, emphasizing the role of creativity and positive preparation.

24:08 – Positive Self-Talk, Avoid Mixed Metaphors, and Storytelling
Highlight the significance of positive self-talk and the avoidance of mixed metaphors. Discuss storytelling techniques for highly analytical audiences.

28:11 – Human Interaction and Speech Writing in a Changing Landscape
Explore the value of human interaction in presentations and address the evolving landscape of speech writing in the context of technological and social media changes.

30:47 – Social Media Strategies and CEO Challenges
Delve into strategies for effective social media use in speeches. Challenge leaders to embrace platforms like TikTok, promoting CEO-friendly engagement and shop visits.

33:34 – Rhetorical Devices, Powerful Sentences, and a Six-Step Motivational Process
Our guest examined rhetorical devices for impactful speeches, drawing inspiration from Churchill’s repetition strategy. Discuss the power of balanced sentences and introduce a motivational six-step process.

37:44 – Finale, Audience Participation, and Credibility
Boosting Shift towards the finale by incorporating audience participation. Adopt our Host’s advice to keep talking through questions. Emphasize the importance of credibility and leadership standards, subscribing to LinkedIn Live.

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About The Leadership Standard Podcast

The Leadership Standard, hosted by TEC Canada speaker and leadership development and resilience expert, Jamie Mason Cohen, features in-depth conversations with subject matter experts all across the business spectrum.

Featuring thought leadership and actionable insights to challenge your assumptions – and inspiring stories of business triumphs, struggles, and perseverance that provide a motivational push – every episode of The Leadership Standard is a revealing discussion about the life of business and the business of life.

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