Watching the Presidential campaigns is a great lesson in what works, what doesn't work, and what you need to learn for your own career.

Take Hillary and Bernie. Madame Secretary is a smart and competent woman. However, she is absolutely missing the first rule in commanding an audience. She is constantly talking about herself, what she can do and what she has done.

"So," you say, "Donald Trump does the same thing. He is constantly bragging about his successes. What's the difference?"

Good question.

Just listen to the words and the timing. Hillary has her check list of how well she has done in her career. She is constantly in the proving phase that she has what it takes. It's a defensive stance. Trump simply used words like "great" over and over to show what a "great businessman" he is.

She is proving, he is telling.

Then he turns it back to YOU. What he will do for YOU. He evokes an image of a better world. Whether you agree of not, he is using all the important components of how a "great" story is created to capture you.

Bernie Sanders does the same thing without puffing himself up. It is about YOU. He keeps painting a world of change and the word "revolution" has lots of juice, especially for the millennials who are gathering around him in droves.

Here is what the top candidates have in common and what YOU need to pay attention to as you move into your next level of leadership.

These are the key areas of a powerful business story:

  • About YOUR customer, not about you: Sure, talk about yourself, however only in relationship with what you have to give to others, not just about your accomplishments.
  • Create conflict: There must be tension and something to overcome that you have the smarts to help with and give an example.
  • Show caring: This is where emotion is required. Power Point examples of what you did, what you do or can do, are boring and will shut people down from engaging. What can you do for me, for us is where the action is.
  • Create suspense: Offer some innuendos and possibilities of what is in store, don't tell all, and keep them asking for more.
  • Underline risk: Anything worth having uses some elbow grease to get. If it is too soft and simple you are not needed. Make sure you let them know you are in it with them and also that you are strong enough to lead the way.
  • Offer surprise: Give an "aha" moment where they can say with delight "I never thought of it that way before."
  • Put it all together: End with a fast summary of the three key points you want to make.

Once you master these techniques you can promote what you have to offer and I promise your customers, clients, constituents will be back for more. When you take others on a journey to their success you will become a force to remember.

Published on: Feb 11, 2016
Like this column? Sign up to subscribe to email alerts and you'll never miss a post.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.