How Every Diplomat Can Become Influential
– Lessons from Diplomatic Leadership Training

Adrian Kirk - storyteller trainer

Adrian Kirk - storyteller trainer

Adrian Kirk
Storyteller Trainer and Director, More Than Words
Diplomatic Leadership Training, Grassroot Diplomat

Is the role of a diplomat to stay in the background and advise quietly from the wings, or to be seen and heard as a national representative on an international stage? The answer is both, yet many international diplomats struggle to find that balance.

How you take your space, how you speak and what you say matters with the added challenge of conveying your message in a foreign language to a mixed audience of various agendas. Being ‘diplomatic’ has become a byword for someone who considerately and calmly influences a person or situation; so advising from the wings suits the role. But equally, if a diplomat is to get inward investment for their country, if they are to build stakeholder relations and interact with a wider international audience, they must also be seen and heard. How we are seen and heard influences people’s perception of us, so one’s ability to come across as engaging, impactful or authoritative is determined by this perception.

The Diplomatic Leadership Training programme will teach you to become self-aware so that you are able to better captivate your audience, enabling you to engage with your audience anywhere in the world, connect with them and maintain their attention on you as you convey a valuable message. Here are few lessons you can expect to take away from our diplomatic training programme.

1. Learn to be taken seriously the first time

We take people in visually first before we listen, then pay attention to what they say. It is part of our ‘fight or flight’ mechanism where we are programmed to assess people and situations within seconds to work out whether they are a threat to us. As this is built into us, we find ourselves assessing people in different situations using the same criteria. We believe someone to be more worthy of our attention because of how they present themselves and how they use their voice. As diplomats, it is important to possess characteristics that reflect ‘presence’ or ‘gravitas’ to be taken seriously the first time. The diplomatic leadership training will teach you skills on how to use your voice and physical presence to help you articulate yourself with great character.

2. Your body language influences relationships

The relationships we create with others are heavily influenced by physical and vocal expression. Write a motivational speech and ask different people to deliver it and I guarantee that audiences will be more moved by people who have greater physical presence who can express their voice with colour, energy and variety. For 16 years, I have been working with people to help them understand how to use their body and voice to greater effect, so they can be more engaging, influential, authoritative, authentic and inspirational. The world has changed and diplomats are no longer just in the wings but on the world stage, tasked to change opinions and misconceptions about their country. The diplomatic leadership training will teach you to be seen and heard.

3. Keep people’s attention

Once we know how to engage an audience physically and vocally, we then need to know how to keep their attention. As much as ‘fight or flight’ matters, we have advanced beyond the basics of it with intellect and knowledge of the world. A well-rounded communicator knows how to take their space and knows how to engage vocally, but they also know how to hold the attention of their audience by what they say. This leads on to the important element on how to use story-telling within your message which is taught on this diplomatic training programme.

4. Tell stories to make your mission and country be remembered

The best and longest established method of keeping people’s attention is to tell stories. The majority of us don’t remember facts and figures; we remember people, feelings and images. An effective communicator engages their audience by telling stories which enables people to see, feel and remember what they have heard and how the story was told. Being diplomatic is not just about using logic and process to influence others. It is about engaging people on the emotional, personal level that story telling allows, an important technique which will be covered in the diplomatic leadership training.

5. Learning practical skills that can be used immediately

The Grassroot Diplomat ‘Diplomatic Leadership Training’ is one of the most practical training sessions delivered to diplomats, which requires zero reading and preparation prior to the programme. As a specialist trainer at More Than Words Training, I will be delivering the ‘Tools of Story-telling’ segment which cover all segments in this article and more. As the official representative of a country, the role of a diplomat can be highly demanding and high profile, and this programme will teach you how to maximise efficiency and gain the best results when meeting stakeholders for a variety of conflicting agendas – skills that is not taught in any other diplomatic institutions or diplomacy schools.

If you are a diplomat (or aspiring to become one) wanting to read body language, learn how to speak to your audience on an individual level and really sell your cause without sounding like an investment report, then register for the Diplomatic Leadership Training (http://www.grassrootdiplomat.org/diplomaticleadership). Let us help you stand out amongst a sea of competition from other countries equally seeking to gain economic, trade and political influence. Places are strictly limited. Please get in touch with Nina Maxwell to offer you a discount: nina@grassrootdiplomat.org

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