By David Lewis and G. Riley Mills

This book’s primary objective is to help the reader learn to communicate with clarity and confidence.

They mention CNBC shared a report in 2012 that showed almost 70% of employees feel work meetings are a waste of time. The authors share a report from Forbes in 2016 that 65% of workers desire more effective feedback from their leaders. They believe they’re not getting the necessary information needed to do their jobs effectively. Therefore, approximately two thirds of the workforce are unhappy because communication is ineffective and uninspiring.

The Bullseye Principle” book is therefore a definitive how-to guide for better communication. This book attempts to introduce its readers to a set of easy-to-use tools to enhance their leadership abilities and build what I would describe as “High Performance Teams”.

David Lewis and G. Riley Mills want the readers to learn;

• why meetings don’t have to suck;

• what George Clooney can teach us about branding; and 

• how to tell stories like Trump and lead like Obama.

We communicate to achieve specific objectives.

In my experience we are all selling our ideas as individuals. Therefore, learning these skills are critical for today’s young employees to learn, develop, and employ every day to be successful in their careers.

The authors attempt to convey the importance that we learn how to communicate to achieve specific goals with no ambiguity.

We communicate to achieve specific objectives.

David Lewis and G. Riley Mills say, “you’re attempting to persuade” and “Persuasion is at the heart of communication, which can be defined as an intentional effort to alter someone’s mental state.”

The million-dollar question they ask is, “What’s the most effective way to communicate and persuade others?”

The title of the book uses the “Bullseye” as a visual metaphor of what leaders need to do in their business communications.

I love that the authors remind us whether you’re facilitating a meeting or giving a presentation, it’s our job to hit the “bullseye” with our audiences.

The authors shared a 2014 Forbes report that 71% of employees don’t believe their bosses communicate proper expectations which creates unhappy workers. This means workers are disengaged from their work.

Top communicators cultivate their personal brands.

David Lewis and G. Riley Mills remind us that you have to come across as honest as well as appearing genuinely excited and engaged to successfully influence someone.

They go on to say that, “Communication, in other words, isn’t just about what you say – it’s about aligning what you say with who you are.”

Top communicators cultivate their personal brands.

I like that the authors ask the read to think about and define “What their personal brand is? They reference celebrity influencers like Beyoncé and George Clooney. It goes without saying that companies pay millions of dollars to have their products endorsed by these individuals because people associate them with their values. So, once you have a clear understanding of your personal brand, you’ll be better able to convey that as part of your natural communication style.

They ask the reader to try an exercise by jotting down three words you’d use to describe yourself. Then find someone you trust and ask them to describe you in three words. Then compare the lists and see what they have in common.

After that, “list your core competencies – the skills and talents you have that are valuable to others – and the accomplishments and experiences that define you. Make sure to include awards, degrees, and promotions. After that, list your goals. What do you want to achieve this year, or over the next five or ten years? Finally, write out your values – the things you stand for. Are you a champion of fairness, for example, or a stickler for the rules?”

Once you’ve completed this activity, you’re ready to create your own personal branding statement

This is a two-sentence description of who you are and what you bring to the table which to me is just a personal mission statement.

Anyone who has tried to write a business mission statement knows it’s not easy so don’t get frustrated or rush this step. I like that the authors say “Remember, like corporate brands, strong personal brands must be developed, maintained, and protected.”

True leaders set an example and encourage a common sense of purpose.

I agree with the authors who believe when everyone shares a common goal that it fills them with a sense of purpose – it carries them through their difficult work challenges ahead of them. I also like that they show that research shows that this euphoric sense of togetherness makes teams in some circles five times more productive than other teams.

Isn’t that the major purpose of business leaders? Help their teams become a “High Performance Team?” I also agree with them that – “Fostering this feeling of common purpose is one of their most important jobs as a leader. “

As always good leaders are better listeners so it’s a good place to start developing your communication skills.

Storytelling makes information more memorable and pitches more persuasive.

Historically we’ve learned that audiences remember the message is remembered 70% or more if a leader provides or incorporates a compelling story as part of their messaging.

The authors key message is: Storytelling makes information more memorable and pitches more persuasive.

A critical message of this book is that effective leaders are also great storytellers. That is self-evident when you think about great storytellers like Steve Jobs.

“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller.” – Steve Jobs

The key message here is:

More and more meetings are badly run, but they don’t have to be. 


Good meetings don’t just happen – they require planning. That’s where a lot of leaders go wrong.

I think the authors try to organize a systematic way of approaching meeting communication by providing these steps;

First, set an objective.

Second, determine why is it important.

Third, who do you need onboard to hit your target?

And, finally, how much time will it take?

So, by answering these questions and creating a clear agenda it will help keep your conversations goal-oriented and memorable.

The result? Employees don’t feel like they’ve wasted an hour of their lives.

Next, facilitation. Remember it’s important to set an example. One of the prime causes of employee dissatisfaction is that meetings don’t start on time.

As a leader it’s your job to always arrive early, be well prepared, and communicate that you expect others to do the same.

Finally, wrap things up by making a summary of the meeting and make them available within 48 hours. This should document what topics were discussed, what decisions you’ve reached, who was present, and what action items you’ve agreed upon.

I personally find I get better results when I think about what I need communicated and what I want/need from the meeting…. give something, get something!

Whenever you’re talking, you’re usually stating things you already know or believe. This can be useful for others, but it’s only one half of the equation. Whether you’re in a meeting or in a one-on-one conversation, you’ll need to ask questions to find out new information.

Asking questions unlocks vital information, but you need to know what kind of questions to ask.

The authors tell us about the different types of questions and why they’re important.

The first kind are convergent questions. These are close-ended.

Then there are divergent questions. These are open-ended and exploratory, meaning they don’t have a single correct answer.

Finally, there are rhetorical questions. These aren’t really questions at all, but statements that sound like questions.

Final Thoughts and Steps You Can Take Now…

Recognize that poor communication is one of the primary causes of worker dissatisfaction. This is not just a U.S. issue, but an across the world issue.

Remember it’s important to clarify your own objectives when you communicate. But it isn’t just what you say that matters. Body language, voice inflection, combined with you being believable and cultivating your personal brand is critical.

Great leaders increase their communication abilities by channeling their passion and using storytelling to communicate their message.

Don’t forget to pay attention, ask plenty of questions, and use what I describe as the “Give Something – Get Something” method.

I don’t know if I’d say the authors brought to light any new information or methods, but I do like how they help the reader learn how to organize themselves in preparation for conducting a meeting. I do think it’s extremely important that they bring to light with facts/reports the boredom and disconnect employees typically feel at work. Getting them reengaged is extremely important in today’s highly mobile workforce. It costs companies greatly to lose skilled knowledge workers who have institutional knowledge about how and why things get done better – faster – smarter.

I hope you enjoyed my book review of the book “The Bullseye Principle”. Feel free to add your thoughts, experiences, and additional communication methods you’ve successfully used or seen in the comment section.

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