Story and The Common Touch

It is a great accolade to say a leader has a ‘common touch.” But what does that mean?

It has a lot to do with connecting with people at a very human level, heart, mind and soul, talking about life as it occurs for us all every day.
Touch is a very powerful sense for all of us. To be ‘touched’ is to be moved, affected and influenced powerfully. Physical touch is a hugely powerful connection between two people.
Common is something shared.
A powerful story shared by someone in a leadership role demonstrates a common touch.
The key is that the story is shared in service of others, without the ego driving it.
A leader with a ‘common touch’ sharing stories will be perceived as someone who other’s interests at heart rather than their own.
The critical element is that it is a story shared, a story with depth and breadth that it has widespread appeal whatever walk of life someone is on.
They are the stories that go viral and that we remember. We all share our humanity in common.
The stories I remember from great leaders are always about their flaws as well as their brilliance, they are real, they are authentic and I can see myself reflected in what they are saying.
I’ll go yeah, I know how that feels. I can relate to that.
And that is the ‘common touch.’
Here are three tips to develop a common touch.
  • Think of  a mistake you have made, and what you learnt, and how you would tell it as a story.
  • Think of a time you were totally surprised by someone and what they told you.  In particular, recall when you made an assumption about someone and were proved wrong.
  • Think of a time when you received extraordinary service from someone, and describe how that occurred. Especially an occasion when you were not expecting it. This is very effective if it is related to a common chore that most people experience, like buying something, making a phone call, being assisted with a task.

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