You heard about the married politician caught trysting with his girlfriend in Argentina. On the day he was caught returning from his fun in the sun, South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford held a hasty, free association press conference at the statehouse to drop the bomb.
Three words for you, Governor Sanford: Less is more.
His rambling admission of guilt was devastatingly wordy and bizarre. He dithered on about his love of hiking. He blathered about "sparking" with his "dear, dear friend" in Buenos Aires. At last, he meandered into a confession. After finally admitting to philandering, the governor presented his priorities wrong. He tearfully apologized for hurting his girlfriend before he expressed regret that his shameful behavior had damaged his wife and sons, and that he'd done the citizens of South Carolina wrong during his six-day disappearing act.
The governor showed us how not to meet the press.
As a leader, Sanford's wordy discourse was far too long and misdirected. He needed to talk less and say more.
I hope you'll never experience a moment of truth quite like this one in your career. However, as a leader you will be called upon to influence the thoughts and actions of others. Here are a few tips to help you influence intentionally:
Sanford's Wall Street wife was far more succinct. Her statements to the press have been pithy, if a bit understandably passive-aggressive. So far, she's winning the oh-so-polite war of words for public support.
Leadership communication is about aligning people to influence their thoughts and actions. I encourage you to be purposeful about communicating with influence. Take time to distill your message instead of being long-winded. In today's world, saying less is truly more.