May 16, 2006

Why Should Anyone Listen to Bono?

Filed under: Non-titled Leaders, Influence, Featured — Mark Sanborn @ 2:06 pm

There are a number of good reasons to listen to what Bono of U2 fame has to say, and the least of those is that he’s a famous rock star. Being famous may get people’s attention, but it shouldn’t instantly confer credibility outside the music industry.

Bono isn’t credible because he’s famous; he’s credible because he is informed. In addition to the research he’s obviously done–and he does a masterful job of supporting his points with just the right amount of data–he’s been actively involved in the causes he promotes. He has been to Africa and seen first-hand the problems that he speaks about.

His speeches (just google him and look for both his acceptance speech at the TED Conference and his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast) are logically constructed and not the emotional rants we’ve become used to from celebs. Bono is always self-deprecating and doesn’t expect to be taken seriously because of his fame or money, but on the basis of the logic of his ideas.

He uses stories to support his premise (stories illustrate, while facts validate) and he appeals to both the logical and emotional side of his cause. He recognizes that people are persuaded differently, and that a totally logical approach will miss as many listeners as a totally emotional approach.

Having just released my latest book, You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader: How Anyone, Anytime Can Make a Positive Difference, I am struck by what a refreshing example of leadership communication he provides.

I listen to Bono, and I hope you do as well.

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