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Leaders Letter 66 – The First & Last Ten Seconds

Dear Leaders,

In Mixed Martial Arts (like the UFC) the last ten seconds of the round can be the most important seconds in the five minute round or on occasions for the whole fight. 

The judges are often swayed by the final push, a lasting impression when scoring that round or that fight. 

The difference between that last push or that last punch can mean the difference a hard-fought victory or heartbreak for the fighters. Months of fight camp, of planning and training gone in seconds.  

In business this is often the case too, the first ten seconds of a speech and the last ten seconds will be the difference between a rallying call, a cry for help or losing your people. 

The first ten words and the last ten words on a company-wide email are often the difference between action, reaction or many times status quo.  

There is nothing worse than being called into a companywide meeting, attending an all-hands and it is flat and having another email sent to the business and it flops, or worse still you receive more questions than provide answers or direction.  

I wanted to share three tips for you to have the best impressions possible in the hybrid way of work the majority of us are working.  

Tip 1: Learn To Storytell 

The 3 step narrative storytellers use is the difference between being fully immersed and engaged or drifting off. 

The 3 rules in a TLDR format 

  1. The Set Up – Strong attention-grabbing opening – set up hero journey 
  2. Goals – Conflict or confrontation – Longest part, build anticipation and the turning point 
  3. Resolution – Shortest phase – twists short and clear, build tension until the wrap-up – give your audience that moment

Tip 2: Use The Right Message Medium 

In the hybrid work world, choosing the right medium to deliver your message is essential. 

When it is trickier to write a long message, a quick video message will have more impact, it can be delivered by slack, teams or via email. The first few seconds will get more buy-in than a longer intro. 

Tools such as loom (or Canva) will help you present a quick deck if you’re like me and prefer to talk through things vs just freestyling or reading a script.
Tools like teleprompter, however, will help you read a script or deliver a speech as the big CEO’s do.

Tip 3: BLUF Emails 

I have referenced the military method of BLUF – bottom line up front as a great way to communicate. Grabbing attention and asking upfront helps to get quick buy-in.
Placing the most important information front and centre and explaining the context underneath. 

I’ll leave you with a particularly accurate TikTok for how all hands are really seen: 

@naijanomad

It’s truly a blessing to hear from leadership #tech #startups

♬ original sound – NaijaNomad

Have a great week and concentrate on the first and last impression you make. 

Thanks,

Danny Denhard

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