Do You Need to Talk Poetry to Your People?

Categories: The Poetry of Persuasion

Recently, I enjoyed a LinkedIn post by Leandro Herrero ( noting that leaders should lead with poetry and manage with prose. People often ask me about the difference between poetry and prose, and most often not in the context about my work in the business world, but mostly as a former English professor. The lines can be blurry these days with spoken word poems, narrative poems and lyrical prose, but all that aside, the biggest difference is that poetry packs a lot of meaning into fewer words and prose is likely to contain more explanation. It’s more complex than this, of course, but the usefulness of poetry in business is profound. Why might you need it? The modern leader needs to be able to create dramatic, memorable impact with language, whether it’s in a meeting, a state-of-the-company address, or even in one-on-one conversations. The usefulness of metaphor, simile, and allusion can help people connect immediately with abstract concepts, and the heightened awareness created by poetry can bypass tired, old ways of seeing the issues and problems present in the business world. Additionally, the complicated terrain of the global economy calls leaders to deal with increasing amounts of ambiguity and the unknown: technology is not making the world smaller, it’s making it more complex and there’s a lot of noise out there. Even if you find yourself resisting the notion that you need to be the poet of your company or team, remember that it’s simply inefficient and ineffective to not have language as one of your best and beloved tools for the challenges of conversational leadership. Click here to view my most recent talk for business professionals to find out more.Powerful Language of Leaders

Libby Wagner
Author: Libby Wagner

Libby makes her home in a lovely West Seattle neighborhood in a house with turquoise walls and an amazing view of the Puget sound and Olympic mountains. A former Air Force “brat”, she continues to bounce from one corner of the world to the other, working with Fortune 500 clients, hopeful artists and authors, and aspiring entrepreneurs. She has a Master’s in Fine Arts and Poetry from Eastern Washington University where she also began working in the Writers in the Prison program.