In last week's blog post, drawing on my 30 years' experience working with executives, I talked about what it takes to be successful when presenting content to them. In other words, what do executives need to hear from you in order for you to earn their attention and respect?
This week, in Part II, I'm going to focus on how to present yourself in order to earn their confidence. What's your body language saying? Or your vocal tone and volume?
Here's how executives expect you to present yourself.
“I want to see your passion, commitment, and command of knowledge.”
Passion and commitment are demonstrated not just with what you say, but also with how you say it. In addition to the executive summary with which you begin your conversation or presentation, you now need to make sure that you deliver your message with the correct balance of energy and composure.
As another executive put it: “Crisp and clean…with no caffeine!” Too much energy and you'll look nervous. Too little energy and you'll seem disinterested and lacking passion for the topic or the relationship.
“Act like you've earned the right to walk on the thick carpet.”
You can display confidence in your demeanor in a variety of ways. Pay attention to your eye contact, your rate of speech (not too fast and avoid the "uhmms" and "ahhs"), and your posture. Speak in a confident and conversational tone. And practice, practice, practice.
Finally, the best advice I ever got was to treat the janitor and the CEO in the same manner: respectfully, kindly, and look them in the eye when you speak.
Do sweat the small stuff.Too many people underestimate the impact of the innumerable small, non-verbal ways human beings communicate with one another. But, when it comes to earning the confidence of the corner office, how you talk to executives matters just as much as what you say.
Interested in training for your team, to help them gain the skills needed to win the confidence of (and next conversation with) senior executives? Check out Mandel's Influencing Skills Training.
TED Talks have become a go-to example for how to give an engaging presentation from the big stage. They can be informative, inspiring, and often incredibly entertaining. But is the TED Talk format right for a business presentation delivered in a conference room? Probably not — but the skills used by TED Talk presenters definitely are!
Learn how to identify what goes into a successful TED Talk and how to make those skills work for you in your everyday business presentations.
Learn Mandel’s 3-step model for skillfully responding — not reacting — to tough questions with confidence and ease.
Admittedly, I've struggled to find a reliable way to help people reduce their public speaking anxiety, despite years of trying. I’ve advised people to do just about anything I could think of that might help, e.g., breathing, meditation. While I haven't found the thing that works every time for every person, there is one technique that seems to be more effective than most. Even if you've already found something that works well for you, this technique is worth trying out.
Executive briefings. Big sales meetings. Project pitch meetings. What do they have in common? The stakes are sky high. There’s a lot riding on them for you and your company — revenue, reputation, productivity. Do your people have, both, the presentation AND facilitation skills to ensure their success?
Read the blog to find out and to get your free Discussion Leader Self-Assessment Tool and Facilitator Checklist.
Memory almost full. Imagine that warning flashing brightly on the forehead of every audience member. A successful presentation isn’t just about the speaker’s dynamic energy or their confident manner in front of an audience. Without compelling, easy to follow content, it doesn’t matter how comfortable you are in the spotlight. You and your topic will quickly be forgotten. So how do you ensure lasting, memorable impact? Learn how to be remembered by leveraging the ancient, globally relevant, and scientifically proven rule of three to focus your content, motivate your listeners, and make your executive presence shine.
Have you ever encountered an unfriendly meeting participant while presenting? Maybe you know someone who constantly interrupts, asks aggressive questions, or worse, tries to take over your meeting. Believe it or not, you have more control over these conference room bullies than you think.
Learn how to recognize these strong personalities, the things you may be doing to trigger their behavior, and what you can do right now to strengthen your command of the room and feel more confident in front of any audience.
Ever wonder how the best speakers fully engage their audience while looking natural and at ease? It starts with expanding your presentation comfort zone and seeing yourself objectively. Video recording, coupled with expert coaching, can take your communication skills to the next level. Find out how the experts do it.
Financial presentations can quickly go south if the information isn’t presented in the context of the business story you want to tell. Don't make the mistake of relying on “the numbers” to convince your audience of what conclusions to draw or actions to take—OR of the benefits of your recommendations. Instead, discover the secrets to powerful financial storytelling. Here are 3 reasons data-driven presentations often fail and what you can do to make yours a success.
Companies perform better financially when women are well represented in the workforce, in management, and on corporate boards. The problem is when a woman speaks, she can feel like she’s walking a tightrope. Many women report feeling like they’re either not heard at all at work or are judged as too aggressive when they speak. The research backs this up. As a result, women may decide that saying less is more. But this hurts them and their organizations. So what can your business do to tackle this problem head-on and build a stronger pipeline of women leaders? Read the blog to find out.
You worked really hard on your presentation. You practiced it multiple times end-to-end. You feel good. You look great. You got this. Suddenly, your presentation time gets cut from 60 minutes to 10. Uh-oh. Moments like this can catch anyone by surprise—and they happen all the time. When the squeeze is on, will you be ready? Can your presentation pass the Pressure Test? Read on to find out.
Securing an initial conversation with decision makers is tougher than ever. When you do finally get someone's attention or time, the first 60 seconds of your interaction are critical. Which is precisely why it's so important to think before you speak. To get the results you want, you must be intentional about how you engineer the first minute of your conversation. Read the blog to learn more.
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