The Power of Hype

I was in a seminar once in which the facilitator ran the following exercise:

After breaking into groups of three, a designated ‘leader’ holds a conversation with a designated ’employee.’ The third person acts as a ‘hype person’ for the leader.  A hype person, if you aren’t familiar, interjects into the conversation between the leader and the employee to repeat and emphasize (with great energy) some of the words phrases.

The hype was fun to watch.  However, when debriefed, many participants said they felt uncomfortable being the hype person; they felt intrusive and superfluous to the conversation.

It was interesting to me that no one seemed to understand the power or value of the hype person.

In a professional setting, hype translates to positive feedback + constructive criticism + amplification of message. The hype person offers intentional support, not only to the leader but also to their peers and direct reports.

Important point: Intentional can easily become strategic. By drawing attention to certain messages or behaviors, a good ‘hype person’ can actually drive the narrative..sometimes just as effectively (or more effectively) than the leader.  Additionally, an effective leader will value their hype person as a resource for feedback. What did the hype person chooses to emphasize from their message?  Did that person get the message right?  Did something resonate more than something else?  If the leader has a different agenda than what was hyped, then maybe they need to try to relay their message again or in a different way.

If you can’t be the leader, you might want to try to being the hype person.  It keeps you engaged with the message.  It makes you extremely valuable.  Finally, the skills you learn as a hype person will make you an even more effective leader in the future.

Featured Image: Claus Grunstaudl,

One Comment Add yours

  1. Ken Bauer says:

    Great image here by the way.

    I had never heard the term before but know that I’ve been the hype person often in conversations. Thanks for the description and the activity.


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