What defines an excellent leader? Is Leadership someone that can think creatively or can solve problems? Is a leader someone that knows what it takes to be a leader and to lead a group, or is it someone that sets goals for themselves and/or for the group. You could ponder these questions for a very long time but there is no true definition for leader or leadership. But you can look at people and decide if they are a good leader, by what outcomes they arrive at, the way they inspire people, and the qualities that they poses. All of these aspects are in one of the greatest leaders of all times and that would be, Dr. Martin Luther KingJr. This man is one to be admired and sought to be like.
Martin Luther King also known as MLK was born in Atlanta, Georgia, in the year of 1929. He was brought up in a religious home, his father was a pastor. Martin followed in his dad’s footsteps and was ordained and became a minister of a Baptist church in the city Montgomery, Alabama. Montgomery was a place of great racism in the South. Dr. King saw this racism and felt something needed to be done. As for him being the newly elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). He felt he needed to do something, so in 1955, December 1, when Rosa Parks didn’t give up her seat on the bus for a white passenger and was arrested. Martin made the decision to organize a boycott against the bus transportation . This is were the great leadership that Martin Luther King Jr. started.
The leadership that King shows is, not to be afraid of anything, to stand up for your people/group, to stand up for the right of your people/group, and lastly to fight with nonviolence for your people. King took action against segregation from that day, to his death. By taking action I mean that he formed many organizations one of which was Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which allowed him to pursue other civil rights activities. This grew to be nationwide and allowed Martin L. King to help his people through his leadership skills.
Martin set goals for himself and for his people. The goals he set for himself was that ” I will not rest until all black men, women, children are free of segregation”. Which meant he would not rest until all his people were free and would do anything to help them have there freedom. The goals he set for his people were of independence, desegregation, and to have their freedom. By setting these goals it shows that King is a great leader. I feel you have to set goals to accomplish your task. By him setting these goals everyone is on the same track, and the people are looking to achieve the same goals and dreams. Which he showed his dreams when he gave the speech at Washington “The I Have a Dream” speech.
Martin Luther King shows great leadership by his demonstrations of non-violence acts all of his organizations all the speeches he gave and all the letters he wrote. Through this it shows he is a man of intelligence, determination, also integrity.
I say intelligence because in his demonstrations, if he would of fought back he and many others would have been killed or seriously injured and it would be his fault and he would of let his people down. So by using his brain he was able to show that the use of violence would result in violence. Not the fact that the demonstration was about the Civil Rights and the desegregation of Blacks. He also showed his intelligence by the letters and the speeches he wrote. The one that was the most inspirational was the “I Have a Dream” speech. This speech touched so many people. It changed the way many people thought about blacks. With the words of Martin Luther King he helped to get desegregation in the Southern states of Mississippi, Alabama, Carolina, Georgia etc just throw his leadership skills and his motivational words that ring till this day.
King showed his determination through getting thrown in jail, being hit with sticks, fists, and being called a “Niger”. All of which hurt him but he would not let that stop him from getting his people free. He did not want to show he was scared of the white community he wanted to show his people no fear. So he faced these obstacles head on and didn’t back down. He showed his dedication and determination to achieve his goals and the goals of his people and to show no fear, and to make his people feel no fear in the whit community. By this Blacks became unafraid of white and helped them get there desegregation.
Martin showed his integrity by taking responsibility for his actions, shown by him going to jail and by him being beat up or even killed. This man inspires confidence in others because he can be trusted to do what he says he will do. King says he will fight until freedom rings that means that he will fight till freedom rings, in which he did. He showed the most integrity when he was killed. He showed that he would give is life to have desegregation and to have his people have their freedom from all whites.
Martin Luther King showed different types of leadership through his preaching, his “I Have a Dream” speech, boycotts, his marches, and his death. All of these demonstrations show that he is the greatest leader of all time. He changed America, he changed segregation, he changed the way people think of people. All of his great qualities came in handy for him to be this great leader. To be remembered as a great man and leader ever to live and die doing what he believed in, and what he thought was right.
King was a great leader. He is a man that will never be forgotten. This is because of all the good things that he has done for America and and the Black population. Know one will ever for get this man because of his hard work, determination, loyalty to his people, is loyalty to his work, the trust people shared in him, How intelligent he was to make the right decision on his movements and speeches. Martin Luther King is a very inspiring individual, a man that will show you what is right and how it is going to be when all is over. He is the kind of man that will show you his dreams, and show you how he is feeling. But When it comes down to everything he is on top. He hits every aspect of a not good but great leader. Your forever Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. addressed a crowd of 250,000 people in Washington DC, as well as millions of Americans who watched him on television.
After reading from his notes, towards the end of his speech King “wandered off his text”. It was a turning point in the speech, writes Taylor Branch in 'Parting the Waters. America in the King years 1954-1963'. King had to decide whether to go back to his notes, or improvise the most important speech of his life.
"Knowing that he had wandered completely off his text, some of those behind him on the platform urged him on, and Mahalia Jackson piped up as though in church: 'Tell 'em about the dream, Martin.” (p. 882)
The rest, as we say, is history. King improvised the rest of his speech, drawing on bits and pieces of sermons he had delivered in the 15 years leading up to this moment. In a 1999 poll among scholars, 'I Have a Dream' was ranked the top American speech of the 20th century.
This begs the question: where did King acquire his powers of persuasion? And what lessons can we glean from him?
In some ways, King was predestined to be a persuasive speaker: his father was the most influential preacher in Atlanta. But King didn’t rely on natural-born talent alone; he was a serious student of the art of persuasion. According to Taylor Branch, he was heavily influenced by Robert E. Keighton of Crozer Theological Seminary, a professor in homiletics (that’s the science of sermon preaching):
"Keighton (...) emphasized that a large part of religion was public persuasion (...) King came to accept the shorthand description of oratory as "the three P's": proving, painting and persuasion, aimed to win over successively the mind, imagination and heart"
Some further digging in obscure handbooks for preachers and ministers made it clear that Keighton, in turn, was a pupil of a Halford E. Luccock, writer of In the Minister's Workshop. It’s a classic manual for preachers, and devotes a full chapter to sermon preaching.
And—like I suspected when I went hunting for his book—Luccock’s writing is uncannily relevant to content marketing, inbound marketing and thought leadership.
(Note: I replaced "content" for "sermon" everywhere, and “writer” for “preacher,” to make it more applicable for marketers and to make it easier to read.)
1. Beware of pancakes
The worst kind of content is what we scientifically describe at FINN as pancake writing.
It's content that starts in the middle of a subject, that lacks a plot or direction and kind of expands outward as the author feels their way around the subject. Luccock already warned preachers about this some 60 years ago: content should always be on the move, he says.
"Content should move along straight lines rather than revolve in circles around the same spot."
That's because people will always turn their attention to movement. We can't help it—it's how we're wired:
"People's attention will follow a thing as long as it is moving; when it stops they relax, as though the plot has sagged."
Pancake writing doesn't move—rather, it oozes, until it finds it final form, by accident rather than by design.
Do your readers a favor and save pancakes for breakfast.
2. Where should it move? Towards an assigned goal
So where should your content move?
This is the billion-dollar question indeed. It is the hardest question of all, but it should be answered before you start writing. You need an assigned goal for your content, as Luccock calls it:
"Effective content is marked by progress; and progress is impossible without structure. Progress includes movement, but (...) it is strategic and cumulative movement toward an assigned goal."
"Your content is much more like a drama than it is like a novel. Many a novel has been begun with the author having his characters and main situations in mind but without final decision in detail about how it is going to come out. (...) But with a drama, the author must know the end from the beginning. He knows that Hamlet gets killed in the last act."
Planning in advance will also avoid the trap of getting lost in your own writing. This is more common than you think. Often, a subject will seem promising and rich, but you realise during the writing process that even though you can describe it, you don’t have anything meaningful to add.
As Luccock says:
"A subject is like a greased pig. It can slip through the hands with incredibly elusive wriggles."
You can avoid this if you force yourself to make an outline. A good outline includes the headline (title) you will use, what your main points will be and precisely what conclusion you will draw.
Before you have this outline, you shouldn't be writing at all—you should be thinking about your outline, finding facts to prove the points you want to make or checking those facts that you and others accept as truths.
These accepted truths usually turn out to be only half-truths. That’s not a problem; on the contrary, it will offer you something surprising to add to the debate. “You know that fact that is accepted as a truth? Here’s the problem with it…”
The key lesson here is this: spend less time writing, and more time researching, thinking and double checking your assumptions. Armed with facts and insights, you will find it a lot easier to define the assigned goal that Luccock discusses.
3. Find new ways to formulate accepted truths
Once you have your assigned goal, spend some more time thinking about how you can make it sound great.
One of our favorite quotes about content marketing is from a paper from the seventies in which Murray Davis formulated a theory of interestingness (PDF). He said, “Great scientists are not considered great because they are right.”
Freud and Marx got it wrong about a lot of things, but they are still studied today. Why? Because they were interesting.
In content marketing and thought leadership—as in preaching—it’s very hard to find radically new ideas.
Most of the time, you need to find a new, surprising way to formulate an existing and accepted truth. Luccock advises a technique he calls “fruitful revision.”
In essence, fruitful revision is the habit of constantly asking yourself, what is the most distinctive way to state this truth? What image, what analogy, what argument—or, even, what outrageous comment can I come up with to state my truth?
The takeaway here is, again, think more, write less.
4. And while you're at it, tell the reader where he is, too
Now that you know where you're going, do your reader a favor and let them know too as you’re writing it down. Says Luccock:
"A piece of content is not a maze. It is more like a highway well posted with legible signs indicating: this is where we are now; the next place will be so and so."
"This may be stooping to a lowly service, but it does serve the traveler in a way that no eloquence alone could match."
Luccock mentions the word “service” here. This is exactly the way to think about content marketing: it should have added value for the reader. Content serves a purpose beyond your self-expression. (If self-expression is what you're after, write poetry.)
5. Your content should have an emotional outline too
Now moving into the more advanced stuff: think about how your audience will feel as it reads your piece.
"There is also what might be called a psychological outline that must be kept in mind, one that takes account of the emotional rhythm of the audience."
"Rest an audience occasionally, to give it a breathing spell, so that it can come back to move along with renewed vigor."
There's a great story on Bloomberg that shows how a theme park meticulously planned the emotions of its audience on a roller coaster: the anticipation, the build up, exhileration, the fear and the near misses all contribute to an experience that makes a lasting impression. The roller coaster developers developed their ride with emotions in mind.
This piece is probably one of the best primers on storytelling I have seen. (Do yourself a favor and watch the video - it will make your day).
You should do the same with your content. What is the feeling that your readers should have after finishing your piece? Should they feel inspired, angry, surprised?
And what should they feel while they're reading? Do you want to create suspense? Joy? Do you want your readers to feel grateful?
Finally, Luccock says, “Choose points where you can ‘break through," where you can really impress an important point on your audience.
This is where your readers should say 'Amen!'”
In my mind, a great article or blog post looks a bit like this:
It has twists, turns, excitement and surprises—it's a little challenging at times but you know that this is actually the most efficient way to reach the summit.
6. Go deep instead of wide
Finally, keep your subjects small and deep rather than broad and shallow:
"One general observation applies to most content. The most helpful content is usually one which teaches in detail on a limited area rather than one which travels, no matter how eloquently, over a wide stretch of territory."
I don't know about you, but I found it mind-blowing that a mid-20th century specialist in sermon preaching would offer such awesome advice on content marketing.
But wait! There's more.
Luccock didn't merely give theoretical advice. He also helpfully defined about a dozen content structures that feel remarkably contemporary. In fact, I took the content types that seemed most useful to marketers in this blog post, and I included some present-day examples of journalists and bloggers using these exact patterns for their content.
Type 1: The Skyrocket
As a storytelling technique, this is probably one of my favorites.
"[The Skyrocket] begins on the ground, rises to a height, then breaks into pieces and comes down to earth again, often in red, white and blue stars."
Huh? Okay, let's try again:
"It begins on the ground, in real life—it travels up to a [higher] truth which has meaning for that situation; and then the content comes down as it were, in separate divisions to that situation."
Here's an excellent example from Vox recently that follows the pattern:
This is what happens in the video:
1. Begins on the ground: "I hate this door."
2. Travels to higher truths: "Apparently I hate it because of bad design. Design is important."
4. Comes down to earth again: "It turns out that you can improve every functional object in the world by applying principles of good design."
It can get slightly didactic as a form, but it's a very persuasive way to introduce theoretical concepts to your readers and to prove the relevance of these concepts in their professional or private lives.
Type 2: The Chase
Much harder to pull off is The Chase. But it's a beautiful narrative form, and one you should master if you want to write compelling long-form content.
The Chase is like a collaborative hunt set up by the writer with his audience. It's about “getting an audience to explore a problem and pursue a solution rather than merely announcing the result to them.”
In other words, it's a whodunit.
A Chase is a great way to keep the attention of the audience, because the audience is actively involved in the hunt. As they are reading or listening, you're inviting the members of the audience to think about the problem, to guess at answers, to formulate hypotheses and see them validated or disproved.
Malcolm Gladwell is probably the master of this kind of storytelling—always teasing the next little insight, the factlet that changes the direction of the narrative, the counterintuitive event that disrupts the narrative flow. (You can read all Malcolm Gladwell's New Yorker articles here).
Another great example is this circa 50,000-word blog post over at Wait But Why. It's a very, very #longread about the question: Where are all the aliens? It's incredibly geeky, and oh, did I mention that it's long? And yet, it manages to keep the reader engaged throughout.
Here's the outline of the piece:
- Where is everybody (everybody being “intelligent alien life forms”)?
- Well, maybe there is nobody else, because intelligence is rare and we're alone in the universe
- OR! Maybe we're just the first species to reach intelligence and we're ahead of all the others
- OR! Maybe there were others, but they're all dead by now (oops!)
- OR! Maybe there ARE others, but we just don't notice them because they are so far ahead of us, they actually live in different dimensions than we do
You get the idea.
Setting up a Chase is hard work, because it requires every ounce of your storytelling talent. It's highly effective at making an audience feel (rather than understand) that a problem or a subject is important and deserving of their attention.
(After reading about the Fermi paradox, I admit I got slightly more worried about the fate of all those aliens out there.)
Type 3: The Jewel
Somewhat related to the Chase, the Jewel involves
"Turning one idea around as one might turn a jewel in his fingers, allowing different facets to catch the light, and throw it into different realms of experience. Its usefulness consists in unity of theme, with diversity of relationship and application."
The difference with the Chase seems to me that it offers less of a story arc.
The Jewel structure works if your audience already cares about your subject matter. You are writing not to persuade them to care. You are writing to help them think, which is easier than getting them to care about a topic that they didn’t know about.
In other words: while a good Chase gets you worried about the fate of the aliens, a Jewel will serve better once we’ve actually found us some aliens and we’re wondering how to approach them.
Type 4: The Classification
This: "10 types of people you meet at conferences"
I'm not a huge fan, although Luccock is. He says,
"This process of classification has a sure interest because it has deep roots in the nature of the mind, as developed throughout history."
He probably has a point when he says that you can be sure to hold the interest of the audience when you start your story by stating that "there are four ways to act in this situation." Naturally, your audience will want to hear all four of them.
Type 5: The Roman Candle
Related to the Classification. The Roman candle is a kind of firework that "throws out sparks for a few seconds, then throws out a ball, then more sparks and another ball."
Luccock didn’t have gifs to illustrate a point, but happily we do:
Today, Roman candles are known and loved as…listicles! Luccock even predicted the rise of BuzzFeed when he suggested that the listicle could be a good structure for a sermon titled "If I were 21 again"!
Here's proof: "16 Things We Wish We Could Say To Our Younger Selves".
Like I said: these preachers were marketing visionaries.
A final piece of content marketing advice: on "grip"
Finally, there was a fascinating new concept that I encountered while reading about advanced homiletics, and it’s a concept that applies equally to content marketing and thought leadership content. It's called “grip.”
This is how it was defined by Martin Luther King Jr.’s contemporaries:
“Grip is a term to express that manner of writing or speaking which impresses a hearer with a strong belief that the writer feels that he has something to say that is worth saying, and which ought to be said.”
Grip is what “carries the mind away from the speaker to the thing spoken. It is obvious that the effect of content ought not to be admiration for the writer, but a sense of having read something which one will never forget.”
And here's one piece of advice to print, frame and hang above your bed:
“Grip is prerequisite for every writer who would fulfill the counsel that a writer should 'stand up not because you have to say something, but because you have something to say. Make sure of that first. Then say it.”