“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”

Martin Luther King Jr. left us a legacy. On this day we celebrate his life as one of he greatest leaders the United States (and the world) has ever seen. As communicators and public relations professionals, there is a lot we can learn from MLK.

1. Be Courageous

It is ok to be afraid. No matter whether people show it or hide it, everyone has fears. However, don’t play it safe all the time. Take risks. Go out on a limb. Set your sights high and do not be afraid to miss and fall. Raise your hand and you will climb the ladder faster. Look to do what is right, not what is easiest.

2. Read

Commit to continuous improvement. How can you improve without learning from others who have tried before you? Whether they succeeded or failed you can learn a lot from those who walked before you. Today consuming content does not mean sitting down with a novel. It could be reading a blog, finding posts through social networks, consuming the information in a video or infographic and so many other ways. Constantly look to consume content and you are bound to learn along the way.

3. Walk the Talk

Actions speak louder than words. Do not just spew the bullshit even though that proves quite easy to do. Back it up with actions. Stay true to yourself and only commit to things you intend on following through with. People will respect you for “eating your own dog food” and practicing what you preach.

4. Demonstrate Faith in People

Showing you believe in someone is one of the most noble things you can do. Seriously. A person can only get so far on their own. They must surround themselves with like minded and determined people in order to maximize their chance for success. Working with others requires a level of determination that is unmatched. How can you be a leader if you are not committed to leading? Work to achieve success and progress not only for yourself but for others as well.

To be an authentic leader you have to lead by example.

5. Master the Art of Communication

Every day you should work to enhance your communication skills. Practice. Practice. Practice. Use relevant metaphors and stories in your conversions to better connect with your audience. People love when you show your true self. Use real examples from your own life that people can relate to. Show a little piece of your private self to your audience to prove that you are a real person they can connect with.

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