Helping Leaders Go From Competent to Compelling with Randy Donaldson

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Randy has been a leading business communicator for more than four decades. He has held a variety of leadership positions across the communications spectrum and has spent most of his career advising CEOs and business unit leaders. He has led media relations, internal and executive communications, both in the U.S. and internationally. Randy’s expertise is creating communication strategies that drive employee engagement and corporate performance across organizations.

On today’s episode, we’ll be discussing the importance of clear communication, challenges faced by leaders in conveying genuine leadership, and how leaders can improve their communication skills. All too often, we see leaders fall into discussing their area of expertise or relying on their tools and datasets—a practice that pulls the audience out of the experience.

Customers need a clear story that resonates with their wants, needs, and expectations in order to stand firmly behind a brand. Companies seeking to stand the test of time must communicate clearly and provide a clear set of values and intentions that customers can rally around—give them a definite sense of greater purpose.

Show Highlights

  • 6:20 – How can leaders effectively read the room? Do tools harm presentations more than they help?
  • 7:30 – How do you address a customer’s wants, needs, and feelings while involving them in something larger than themselves?
  • 8:30 – Are listeners more likely to challenge authority sources now than five years ago?
  • 9:00 – Donaldson affirms that leadership legitimacy is built over time, but it can be started and accelerated in single instances.
  • 10:15 – How does corporate language affect employees at difficult times? Bluntness?
  • 13:20 – Leadership should have some origins within the organization being led.
  • 15:00 – Leaders have to invest their time in crafting their own story. How does using a fabricated story impact their appearance?
  • 17:40 – Randy notes that some personality types tend to excel at storytelling from the beginning, but can others readily be coached?
  • 25:40 – Stories tend to convey information better and increase retention.
  • 27:30 – Simplicity should be at the heart of business. If customers can’t understand a business, they’ll struggle to support it.

Guest Information:

Randy has held a variety of leadership positions across the communications spectrum, for most of his career advising CEO’s and business unit leaders at The Coca-Cola Company. During his 34 years at Coke, he worked in and led media relations, financial communications, internal communications and executive communications, both in the U.S. and other parts of the world. As a consultant, he has worked with Atlanta’s Woodruff Arts Center — one of the largest arts centers in the world — to provide assistance on communications strategy, media relations and patron experience.

He provides strong writing and communications skills and common sense approaches to challenges and opportunities that have marked his prior experience as a communications leader, public relations counselor and journalist.

You can find more information about Randy on Linkedin:

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