What Works?

If a thousand people are asked the question, ”who do you think has had the most positive effect in regards to racism? I would guess that most would say, ”Martin Luther King Jr.” Why? Wise people pay attention to those who make a lasting difference, not just make noise, and learn from them. Martin Luther King obviously organized and led some very effective peaceful demonstrations. There were eight demonstrations that were particularly effective, but Dr. King’s most famous and most effective act as a civil rights leader came during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, on Aug. 28, 1963. The largest political rally ever seen in the US, it drew between 200,000 and 300,000 police and participants, to whom King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Why was King so effective? All effective leaders are effective for a reason; the reasons are observable and transferable. The Apostle Paul said, ”observe those who walk according to the pattern given in the Word, and follow their example.” I have read a lot about Dr. King, Winston Churchill, John Wooden, Abraham Lincoln, and many other world changers, always looking for the answer to the question, ”What works?”

There are a number of principles and practices that have been written about by those who have studied effective leaders, but I think that at the top of the list of what made Dr King so effective was his communication skills. He was able to inspire people to follow him by his ability to inspire them with his speeches.

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

All of the Great communicators over the years who have inspired, influenced and motivated people with the power of their words have common denominators. One of them is that they know the difference between babbling and effective speech.

Marriages can be greatly improved by good communication; parents can train their children to be champions in life with excellent communication, leaders in every area of life can become very effective by improving the quality of their communication. Communicating effectively, speaking in a way that powerfully influences and motivates others is a skill that almost anyone can learn. A few do most just babble.

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