Event Date: 09/30/2015 (2:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT)
SARAH SCHAFER: Talking with The Top: Tips for Building and Using Your Executive Presence presented by Suzanne McCall. Today’s webinar is sponsored by the HRDQ Style Series and will last around one hour. If you have any questions you can always type them into the questions box. We’ll be answering questions as they come in live at the end of the presentation or as a follow-up by email. My name is Sarah Shafer and I will moderate today’s webinar.
Suzanne McCall, senior consultant with Pinnacle Group Business Resources, has been working with leaders across all industries as they seek to enhance their leadership and management skills. Through a highly interactive learning process and through one-on-one coaching, Suzanne has contributed to the effectiveness of local, regional, national, and global leaders. She is a noted authority and expanding emotional and physical vocal communication effectiveness. Welcome, Suzanne, and thank you so much for joining us today.
SUZANNE MCCALL: Thank you, Sarah, it’s great to be here. And welcome, everybody, I’m glad to be with you today. We are going to go ahead and get started. As Sarah mention my name is Suzanne McCall and I’m from Pinnacle Group and we provide training and development products and services to all different kinds of organizations. And, although for me, myself, I have been for the last 20+ years I’ve been supporting the success of professionals in a wide variety of organizations all over the world, my foundational training was in the theater. And there are a lot of secrets that actors know about presence that can be very beneficial in almost every work situation that you’re involved in and I would love to share some of those secrets with you today and help you to find ways to apply them directly to your work life into your everyday life. So we will be working with that.
Let’s take a look at what we are going to be accomplishing together today in our time together and we have a few key things that we’re going to be looking at. First of all we are going to boost your ability to attain positive results with your executive audiences in multiple situations. So we’re looking at a lot of different kinds of situations and as a matter of fact I’m going to be challenging you in just a moment to expand your definition of what a presentation actually is. We’re going to learn something called the drivers of executive presentation results. In other words will be learning some things that can help you consistently drive results. I am a firm believer that any skill we build, anything we work on today, anything you do in your developing skills is about getting results. And so we’re focused on getting results through having executive presence and through delivering information to our executive audiences. Number three, develop a plan for a well aligned executive level presentation and I’m going to be asking you today, we’re going to be very practical in our time spent together, and I’m going to be asking you to create a plan for an actual presentation. So, I’d like you to start thinking about that right now. Perhaps you are in an organization and you are in a role where you need to present periodically to executive leaders, decision makers within your organization. Maybe you have something coming up on the calendar where you’re going to need to convince them of something or persuade them, influence them, ask for their buy-in and ask for them to make a decision. It could be a number of things. Maybe that’s something that you want to plan for. A great way to use this next hour by planning and preparing for that and I’ll be feeding you some ideas and thoughts all along the way. Or perhaps let’s say that you have clients that are executives. They are decision-makers and you want to be sure that you are getting the optimal results with those audiences. Maybe you need to have a conversation with the leader in your organization, one-on-one conversation where you need to present some ideas. That might be a presentation that you want to plan for. So I’m asking you right now to think that through. Think about a presentation for which you would like to be well prepared and you and I going to work on it together today. To that note I would ask you to grab a blank piece of paper and something to write with because you will be writing and actually creating that plan so that when you walk away today you’ll have that in your hand and you’ll be able to step right up and have an effective conversation.
The last thing here to talk about on our program objectives is to discover a secret ingredient for powering through executive presentation challenges. So we all know that many times our executive audiences, those decision-making audiences, are challenging, and what is it that we can do to power through in those challenging moments happen. When we are hit with a wall, when we have an internal sense that it’s not going well. What is something we can hold onto? And we’re going to be learning that toward the end of our time together. What is that secret ingredient for powering through those challenges? We will be learning that today as well.
So I’d like to open up the chat. And I would like to open up questions for you. I would love to find out about you. You are my audience today and you are wherever you are and I’m sitting here in beautiful Pennsylvania, and I would love to find out from you what your interest is in this topic of executive presence and executive presentations. So, in the question box in that area if you could just type in in that chat area where it says type in answer here if you could just type in and answer the question why are you interested in executive presence? And I would love to get some feedback here from you. Waiting a moment, I would love to hear from some of you. Convincing top management; so there is top management that you are talking to; so, you have a top management and you need to have some kind of conversation where you are convincing them. I see here somebody has a client that they want to get better results with. They are wanting to drive some results there with clients that are executives. This is your reason for the interest in this topic of executive presence and executive presentation. All right, well I will be continuing to take a look at that. So you can continue to type in your answers. I would love to hear from as many as you as I can. I would love to keep this as a conversation.
All right, what I would like to do next is I think it’s always good to get definitions out of the way so that we are on the same page and what I would like to do is define executive presence, because in some ways this is rather elusive. It’s hard to get a handle on. So I thought it would be useful to start out today giving a good definition so we can all see it in the same way. So let’s take a look at the definition of what executive presence actually is. There are some key characteristics that are present, that are there when a person has executive presence when they are demonstrating executive presence. And there are several of them: composure, connection, passion, confidence, credibility, clarity, conciseness, and openness. And I want to go back and talk about a few of these because these are important and I want to give you an opportunity to assess yourself. We will do a quick self-assessment after we’ve gone through these where are you on some on some of these key characteristics of executive presence. So let’s look at these. Composure, first of all, this is that ability to walk into any situation no matter what’s going on and have that sense of calm. And if you want to think of it from an analogy point of view, from a visual point of view, you might want to think of keeping those waters inside calm no matter how rough the waters are outside of you. And many times when we are in executive conversations and we are presenting information we have to have those moments where we are debating, where we are defending, where we are making our point, and many times it feels like there are a lot the tide is coming against us. So what can we do to maintain that composure? We’re going to talk about some things today that we can do to have that. To make sure that we have composure in any situation.
Let’s move to the next one so, connection. This is really important. In any presentation, or any conversation, not just with executives but just about anybody where you need to get results, you want to connect three key things. And those three things are you, your audience, and your message. And what happens is if all of these are connected and we’ve connected these things in and this is when the circuit is completed, the light bulb goes off, there is understanding, there are new ideas, there is motivation. All those things that we are seeking to doing presentations. So some ways of doing that, we’re going to talk about some specific ways of doing that. But first of all for you and your audience, you need to understand them. You need to know what makes them tick. What are their fears? And I’m hoping that all of you have some way of analyzing your audience before you speak with them. This is really important. Before you even talk to them take two minutes to consider who your audience is and what they need and how they communicate and how they want to be communicated to. So we’re connecting with our audience and then of course when we are in that moment when we are speaking with them, there are many ways that we can connect through eye contact, through open body language, through having a lively voice. Many things that we can do to connect with that audience when we are speaking with them.
The other piece of connection that needs to happen is you and your message. So we’re thinking of these three components: you, your audience, and your message. You need to connect with your message. You need to believe it. You need to understand it. You need to develop some passion around it. And this is something that needs to happen before presentation as well. So, as you’re moving into a conversation you are about to present an idea to a leader, to a client, to your manager perhaps, to an executive audience. We have one person who was talking about top management, having to speak to them and convince them. Before you move into that conversation think about your message. Key into your message. Believe in your message. Understand and know your message. And there needs to be some authenticity here. Many people will say to me well, Suzanne, I really don’t feel authentic when I’m presenting. I need to feel that authenticity. Well with your message and understanding your message you need to find some ways that you authentically feel confident in your message. You believe in your message. If you don’t believe your message and you don’t understand that it’s really going to be difficult for you to get that message across to your audience. So strong connection with your message. So let’s think about this. If we had a triangle, perhaps, and there’s you, your audience, and your message, and we’re trying to complete the circuit. If you are strongly connected to your audience, before you walk in and when you’re talking to them and you are strongly connected to your message, that other piece of the audience connecting with your message, that’s going to happen almost automatically. Because of your strong connection with them and your strong connection with your message. So the circuit is completed.
Let’s move to the next one now and talk about passion. And sometimes people will say, well, I think sometimes I need to tame it down when I am talking to an executive. When I’m talking to a top manager or decision-maker, I think I need to bring it back down. I don’t want to show too much passion, too much finesse. I need to lower that. I would disagree with you. I would say for all of the executives that I have worked with, they appreciate passion. Maybe it’s how you show it. Maybe it’s thinking about their communication style, what they are comfortable with and finding a way. But I would say in every single conversation, and every single presentation with executives, this is a characteristic of executive presence that we need to portray, we need to demonstrate. And it must be authentic, so, as we were speaking a few minutes ago about connection, the authentic passion, what is it? Let’s say you have to deliver very dry data-driven information to an executive team. What is it about that potentially dry data that excites you? What is interesting about it? Where could you find some authentic connection with that? And out of that you’re going to be able to find stories, examples, all those things you need to bring passion to the topic. And this is going to keep your audience with you and if you are needing them to make decisions or take action, this is where the fuel is going to come from, that passion. So we need to find it. Trust me, you need to find the passion in every single presentation or conversation you have.
The next one, confidence. And this is something that you might want to ask those questions of yourself. What makes you feel confident? It’s going to be different for every one of you that is listening right now. What makes you feel confident? And then find a way of matching that. Find out way of meeting and measuring up to that. So let’s say it’s knowledge. I feel confident when I am knowledgeable about a topic. And I know I can walk in and talk about it no matter what questions come my way, I am knowledgeable. I have the information. So maybe that’s what you need. Do it. Make sure you are well versed. You have the information, you have the knowledge before you walk in. Another thing perhaps for you that makes you feel confident is feeling connected. So feeling that connection with your audience and we talked about that briefly before, what can you do to form those connections, those alliances, with your audience member, with the individual that you’re talking to. What can you do to create that connection? And do it. And make sure that you feel that connection and that will bring confidence to you. Maybe it’s as simple as what you are wearing. To be truthful I think we do feel more confident when we are wearing certain things and when they are talking about presence and having a certain presence and if for you wearing something specific, a suit, a pair of shoes, or whatever it may be, if that makes you feel more confident, then I would say do that. Because confidence comes from the inside. But, it’s the old fake it till you make it. Sometimes we can portray confidence on the outside and then it builds on the inside.
Moving to the next one, credibility. These are all again key characteristics for executive presence. If you’re wondering why sometimes way don’t have executive presence it might be that you’re missing one of these. So let’s think of the next one once again. Credibility. There are opportunities every day for you to build credibility. Credibility is not built instantly. It’s not something you can walk into a room and have before you walk in. You have to start building it with a new relationship. But with relationships that are ongoing, perhaps there are executives in your audience, within your organization that you have frequent connection with. Maybe you are an executive and you’re wanting to have executive presence with your peers. And you have credibility opportunities all day long every day. Look for those opportunities to build credibility. The great thing about credibility is it something that, it’s a gift that keeps on giving. If you have built credibility with an individual, you’re going to have more influence with them, you’re going to be able to persuade. You’re going to be able to bring them on board to get their input, to get their buy-in, to get there ideas. So much can be built out of credibility. But find those opportunities. Perhaps make a promise and then follow up on it. That would be one way to build credibility. Many ways to do that. Demonstrating knowledge, demonstrating experience, some of us are shy to do that, but I would say if you look at this list and you say, well credibility, that is something I don’t know that I have with my audience. Find ways of building it. You have opportunities all the time.
The next one is clarity. And this takes some brainpower. This is something we have to think about so let’s say you are presenting an idea and you start thinking about this idea you start thinking about something that you would like to see happen and it’s hard for you to even wrap your head around it. You’re going to need to take some time with yourself and boil that thing down, slice and dice it, think of it from different angles, talk to other people about it, and then see if you can bring it down to a few words, to a sentence, to a phrase, and find some clarity. Maybe you need to visually represent this idea. Maybe it’s a complex process and you’re saying I need to be clear on this. Well, let’s see, let’s look at the three phases of this. And now let’s look at what’s underneath those phases and what’s happening in each phase of this project or this process. Suddenly it will become a little clear for you and you will have an easier time of explaining it to others. But it takes some brainpower. It takes some work to have executive presence, to have these characteristics. This does bring us directly to the next one which is conciseness. And this is the ability to get to the point and move off of it. And I would say for this one you need to make a plan for your conversation or your presentation and then you need to stick to that plan. You need to stick to those words that you’re going to say. You need to stick to the outline that you’re going to use.
The next thing is openness. This is so important and this is one of those things, too, that you can fake it until you make it. And it’s something we can demonstrate physically even if we are not feeling it emotionally. That’s a real key thing here. Openness is something that when others see that in an individual, when they see this openness, they automatically think that the person has this confidence. That the person has what we are calling today executive presence, So, some things that you can do physically, you can have open body language, eye contact. If someone is asking you a tough question, instead of folding the arms, instead of closing off, instead of looking down at your notes, instead of grabbing the pen and holding on to it for dear life, force yourself, open up. Open up your body, open up your heart center, that central part of your body, open that whole area to your audience. And when we are in this position, I’ve seen others call it the power pose, when we are nice and open to our audience, there are several things that are happening. The audience is reading us as they are open to me, they are open to my ideas, they are open to even if I have contradictory ideas. So a lot is happening physically when we are showing openness. And the other thing that is happening, there are some internal processes that are going on. Did you know, for instance, that if we have open body language, we are actually lowering our cortisol levels which is a stress hormone. You’re actually lowering your stress hormone cortisol when you have open body language rather than a closed body language. Rather than folding your arms, grabbing piece of paper and holding it to your chest, looking down at notes, all of those things, the clenching in the front of the body, which many of us do when we are in a nervous situation, any of those things close the body off and believe it or not you are lifting or you are raising your cortisol levels which is going to bring more stress. And other things are going to happen. The mind starts racing, all of that. So openness. Demonstrate it physically. Force yourself to do that seated or standing even if you are not fully feeling it emotionally.
All right, so a moment here for you to reflect. What characteristics, if you look at these and think about what we’ve talked about here with composure, connection, passion, confidence, credibility, clarity, conciseness, openness, when you think about these, which characteristics of executive presence do you possess? You have these. You know you have these you have demonstrated them, other people told you that you demonstrate these successfully. The other piece of this is what characteristics of executive presence do I need to develop? And be honest with yourself. Really think about this. Reflect on this. The good news is if you identify a couple of these that you need to improve, you just found the key to elevating your executive presence. So I want to give you just a moment here to think about this. Thinking about what you possess already and what you want to develop. A couple of minutes, jot down those notes. What is it?
All right, so hopefully you had a moment to reflect on that. I promised that I would let you reflect today that was our first time in doing that. I want to, I mentioned earlier that I’m going to challenge you to expand your definition of presentations. Today we are exploring executive presence through presenting information to executives. So we are exploring executive presence through the art of presentation. And the first thing I want you do around this is I want you to expand your mind and how you define what presentation is. Let’s take a look at that next. So definition for today of presentations. It is an interaction containing the following components: it’s a messenger, we’ve got that, that’s you; a receiver, that’s the person who’s receiving the message; a detailed message that you want to deliver; and finally a desired outcome.
There are the four components of a presentation. If you’ve got these four things you’ve got yourself a presentation. So you can imagine, this really expands our definition. Certainly a presentation is you standing in a ballroom talking to 100 people with a huge screen, PowerPoint presentation. That is a presentation. Absolutely. But a presentation also can be an update in a meeting. So a team meeting where you need to provide an update for a group of people perhaps an executive team. It could also be a one-on-one conversation. Maybe you have an idea, maybe you have a solution that you really want to bring to upper management. And you don’t know when this opportunity is going to happen. But suddenly you find yourself in the elevator going from the 15th floor to the lobby and you look next to you and there’s the very person you need to talk to about this idea, you need to share this idea. Oh my goodness I have 15 floors where I can demonstrate this or I can give them this information. You’ve got your messenger, you’ve got your receiver; you’ve got a detailed message; and you got an outcome you’re looking for. You want them to grab this idea the solution and run with it perhaps, take action on it. The detailed message piece, let’s talk about that. Now, you didn’t know that was going to happen, but in your mind your thinking I at some point need to get, I have the solution I have this idea and I want to bring it to upper management. I want to bring it to somebody on the executive team. I want to bring to my boss’ boss. And you think about it ahead of time. And then you are ready when that moment happens. You bring in composure, connection, and passion, and all of those things with executive presence into that moment. So, as you can see, you have many opportunities during the day where you are presenting. You are providing a presentation. I think many people shy away from thinking about these moments like a quick five minute update in a meeting. They shying away from thinking about this as a presentation because it brings pressure and stress to us as an individual. Oh my goodness, I don’t want to think about that as a presentation, suddenly I have to prepare for it. I have to think about it. I have to really put the focus on me. I feel like I am performing. But, let me tell you, this is an opportunity to get results. If you’ve thought about it ahead of time, you have a five minute update that you are giving in a team meeting and you’ve thought about it ahead of time, and that five minutes you know how you are going to start; you know what you’re going to mention; you have some details there that you’re going to bring out your audience; and when it comes time they hand it over to you and you move into your presentation of five minutes, you’re going to get better results. And if you do this consistently, you’re going to get consistent results. And, let me tell you, your visibility in the organization is going to increase. Wow, she’s really articulate. Or she was able to explain that complex process really well and I get it now and now because she explained that to me I can run with it. I can make decisions based on that. So thinking about the small moments as a presentation can really expand your results, your connections with others, your visibility in the organization, and the results you’re getting consistently. So, again, this is helping us to expand our definition of what an actual presentation is.
All right, I promised you that you are going to create a plan and it’s time to do that. So, presentation plan, I hope that I have talked long enough that you’ve been able to come up with an idea for a presentation that you would like to deliver. And again we just expanded our definition of a presentation. To this could be a one-on-one conversation, it could be a five minute update, or it could be a full on presentation with PowerPoint slides, handouts, slides, charts, and graphs, and all of that. But think for a moment about a presentation that you would like to deliver to an executive audience. I want you grab that pen and your blank piece of paper and at the top of going to show you my presentation plan, I have my piece of paper here and I have written presentation plan at the top and I’ve written audience. My audience is my executive team. And I know who they are. I know them pretty well so I can really base a lot on. My situation is we have a project update meeting coming out and I need to provide an update. I need to provide my piece of the update. So, I want to give you a moment here. Write down this should be relatively quick, write down the audience you are presenting to and then the situation. So just briefly jotting that down.
All right, so hopefully you’ve thought of the audience, you know the situation, and based on that, we’re going to create a plan. And that’s usually the first thing you know when you have to present information. You know who you’re going to be presenting to and you know the situation where going to be presenting. So, those are important first factors to think about. I would love to hear from you at this point again. So I want to open up, and here’s the question. Who is your audience? My audience is my executive team. But, if you would just go to that type answer here, if you would just go to that block where you can show your input here, click on that and type in your audience. Who is your audience? I would be curious to know that. So I will give you a moment here to type that in. All right, I see a few of your sharing my audience as well, executive team, top management, clients, group of clients, my boss, my leader. So, we have some ideas here of who your audience is. Peers, some of you are saying you need to present information to your peers perhaps you are in an executive role and you need to present information to your peers. All right, that’s terrific. Thank you.
All right, let’s move into the next piece here and I want to introduce, we talked about this in the beginning, but I would like to introduce this idea of drivers of executive presentation results. So there are a few things we can use to consistently get good results with our executive audience. And we’re going to talk about that now. Drivers of executive presentation results, so we are talking about getting results here through presentations. Here are the five components, here are the five drivers. So, first of all audience alignment. We want to make sure we are aligning with our audience, that we are connected with our audience. We talked about this earlier. I want to make sure that we understand our audience and that we have aligned well with them. Message integration, so this is where we take the message and we bring in all the parts and factors that we need to consider for our message and we integrate that together and we’re also integrating that with our audience. With who are audience is. Next there’s preparation. This is absolutely key. This is going to drive your success. You must prepare. And, I’ve talked to a lot of people who have executive audiences and do executive level presentations and they’ll say this is my downfall, this is the area where I suffer. How do I prepare? How do I make sure I’m doing what I need to do? I am lost in that. What is it that I need to do to be well prepared? We are going to talk about some specific things related to that today. The other thing is strong delivery. So, really that’s where the rubber meets the road. This is the during. Everything else is before. Align with my audience and I consider them and analyze them. I bring my message into full form and then I prepare and then I need to deliver. And what are some things we need to do for strong delivery? We’re going to be talking about that as well. And that’s what my background in theater really comes in handy. Because in a sense, even though we really don’t want to think about it, it is a performance. You are performing. You are up in front of an audience, or are seated in front of an audience, but you are needing to connect with them, reach them, persuade them, change them. So strong delivery, we’ll talk about some things we can do with that. And follow through, let me tell you this is where you can build credibility. If you provide a presentation or an update or you have a solution for a leader, then you follow through with that, you make a promise and follow through with that, you’re going to build credibility. So, this is one way that we can make sure that we are maintaining credibility with our audience so that the next time we need to present to them they are ready, willing, and able.
Let’s go ahead and talk about the audience and what we might do to align with them. Some things you want to think about how do they communicate? How are they communicating out to the world? Why do we need to know that? Because the way they are communicating out to the world is probably the way they like others to communicate to them. Here we have What’s My Communication Style, which is an HRDQ assessment tool and this is a great way of finding out how we communicate. What I love about this particular tool is it specifically focused on how you communicate. Nothing else. So, really really boils and focuses us into how we communicate to the world. So, think about your audience. You’ve identified who your audience is. You’ve thought about the situation where you’ll be presenting. Let’s think about the players. Who’s in your audience? Let’s talk about these four different styles. So there are four styles: direct, spirited, systematic, and considerate. First of all, direct. As you can imagine that’s a very descriptive term there and they are very direct. They like to get to the point and they really appreciate it when you do the same. So you can imagine how you would have to craft a message very specifically for that kind of audience. And I’ll just tell you from my experience many people in an executive audience are either naturally direct or they have developed their directness in their style of communication. So this is an important one for us. Spirited, our spirited audience members are really focused on energy. They have a lot of energy to provide for others; they appreciate energy in a presenter. So that’s something we need to consider and I’ll also tell you with our spirited audience members, they want us to want us to be positive. If I’m going to persuade them get their buy-in, really bring them onboard, I need to minimize the negativity, the complaining, any of that. It needs to be at a minimum. Systematic, these are those audience members that are really focused on logic. They love data. They love information. They are a collector of information and data. They need that in order to make a decision. You would never go to a systematic group of people to an audience and not give them data and expect them to make a decision. We have to consider that. And then finally we have considerate. These are our audience members who are focused on harmony. They like to have harmony in the room. They like to make sure that people are being treated equally. These are those individuals if you have considerates on your executive team or in your executive audience are with your peers, you might want to think about your considerates as those who care about the people factor. So, for instance if I’m giving a presentation and I’m talking about this great new idea, here is what is going to happen, here’s how it’s going to unfold, here are the five phases of the process, here’s the decision, here’s what is happening, if I present all of that and I leave out the people factor I am going to lose them. So I need to present to that audience how will people be impacted? What’s the individual perspective of this? So, I really need to think about them as well.
So, I’m going to give you a minute to think about your audience. And maybe, this is usually the case, unless you’re talking to one person, but, you have a combination. And that can be a challenge. We’ll talk about that after you have identified your audience and what their communication style is. But that can be a challenge if you have a couple of different styles in your audience space. So, I will share with you mine. Writing down audience’s style for some talk about communication. So this is how I’m writing it on my presentation plan. My communication style for my audience is a combination of direct and systematic. And again, just looking back here the choices here, direct, spirited, systematic, and considerate. So, I want to give you a couple minutes here to think about your audience. Analyze them. Who are they? Were they coming from? What are they focused on? And then determine who they are, the styles that will be a big help for you in planning the rest of the presentation. So, I’ll give you a minute to consider that. All right, hopefully you had a chance to determine the communication style of your audience. And again sharing my plan, my audience’s style of communication is direct and systematic. A combination of both. Let me just talk a minute about that combination audience. So, for instance, if you are like me and you share in the same styles in your audience that make up your audience, you might want to think about the differences here. So, with direct and systematic, so direct, for instance if we use this as an example, they want me to get to the point. There focused on results, they are focused on the task, let’s do it, come on, move it, move it, move it. The systematics are much slower and in some ways they are the opposite. They need time. They need information. They need to collect the data. They need to process it, consider it, mull it over, weigh the pros and cons. So we’ve got a challenge on her hands here if we have both. What I will say, and I am asking this question out to you and you can answer it in your mind or you can type it in to answer the question for me, but which one do you think we’re going to lose first? If we’re thinking about direct and systematic. Which one do we stand the biggest chance of losing first? Anybody have a guess? All right, we have a winner. Yes it is the direct. We are going to lose them first. Because they really want us to get to the information. They want us to get to the point. So, that’s an audience, that’s part of our audience that we might need to think of first and then perhaps may be get to the point get to the reasoning, and then back it up after that with some data and some information in a very strategic way so that we give the systematics what they need well.
Alright I also want to think about, I want you to think about with your audience how they process information. How they listen, how they reason. So we’re going to think about that next. How do they listen? There are two options here. Either inductive or deductive. So let’s talk about the differences here. With my inductive audience members they need the supportive detail, the information first and then they want me to get to the point after that. Some ways that that might happen, maybe they want to get to know me a little more. Maybe it’s an audience that I don’t know that well. They don’t know me that well. They want to get to know me. They need maybe some background about me they need some context for my topic. They need some history, some background. They need some data. They need how did this work last time? What were the lessons learned? What were the best practices? What worked? What didn’t work? So any of those might be supportive details that I could give them and then I get to my point. So, in that conversation I might say here’s the background, here’s the information, here is the history, now let me show you what we are doing with it or what our solution is. The other side of this is deductive. So, my deductive audience member, they want me to get to the point first. And they are thinking at all times, please get to the point. Let’s move it, tell me what you’re here for. Tell me why I am here; tell me what we are going to accomplish. So, we might address them first as I mentioned. So for that deductive audience member we might say here’s why we are here. We’re going to be here for 45 minutes and by the time we walk out of this room we will have made a decision on X. And, so, we need to be sure we accomplish that, that we take care that at the beginning of the presentation or conversation. And then give them supportive detail that they may need. With my highly deductive, and this is to 1 degree or another, some people are highly inductive, they need lots of information they want to know all about you, they want to know do you have dogs and cats, they really want to know everything about you. And then, all right now we can talk. Now we can get down to the point. There are some people who are slightly inductive. They need a little bit of okay I’m good now, and I get to your point. Then there are those who are slightly deductive. They want you to get to the point but they can take a little bit of finessing or understanding at the beginning and then you get to your point. But then there are those who are highly deductive. Get to the point. So, with that audience, again, what we might do is we might tell them what the point is and then give them some backup data. Also what I would do with this kind of audience where I had a little bit of both is that I would have, if this was a full on presentation, and we had slides, I would have backup slides. So what I would do is I would present maybe five slides with data on it, important information that they needed to know and then I would have backup slides so that when I came to the time of Q and A and somebody said well can you tell me what our competitors are doing, I can go to slide 17 and pull that up and then we can take a look at what our competitors are doing. So there are ways of accomplishing this and striking a nice balance even though you have a mixture in your audience.
All right, I want to give you a chance also to think about this in relationship to your audience that you’ve chosen.
For me I would probably say I have predominantly deductive listeners and reasoner’s in my audience. I have a few that might be a little inductive but for the most part were mostly talking deductive. So, see if you can find and clarify for yourself what your audience’s listening style is. Take a moment to think about that and jot that down. All right, terrific. Let’s come back together and I have another question for you. I’d like to find out if you have what you’ve determined as far as a listening style for your audience I think it would be interesting for us to know that. So if you wouldn’t mind typing in what is the style of your audience. Is it mostly deductive, mostly inductive? So I’ll give you a minute to consider that and to give us your answer. So it looks like deductive is a winner here. I think most of you are showing it’s a deductive audience, which is again, this is for me what I have found in the 20+ years of dealing with different kinds of audiences and especially executive audiences that it’s deductive, the decision-makers. And, again, for these individuals it might be something that is natural for them to be deductive or maybe they developed this deductive style of listening and communication so that they can really get to those results.
All right, so let’s look now at our next driver. And this is the message connection. So this is making that connection with our message. And so I want to take a look at what it’s comprised of. So, what do we need to think about when we are considering message connection? So these are the essentials, these are essential things that we need to make sure we are considering as we get our message together. So, once again it’s in the planning stage. We are planning our presentation. We are planning the conversation that we will be having. And we want to make sure that we are considering everything. First of all, considering our audience’s preferences. We just did a mini audience analysis. You thought about their communication style, you thought about their way of listening, their reasoning style, how they process information, so, you’ve done a bit of an audience analysis. So, you can start from there. You can start to deduce how our audience might prefer to be communicated to. What kind of presentation they might appreciate most. So for instance, do they want a lot of data? Do they want a little bit of data? Is it maybe a presentation where we need to be a little more formal, a little more buttoned up for this particular audience. Or maybe thinking about my audience used to be more relaxed. If I think about our results what I want to have happen in this presentation my audience would actually respond better if we were relaxed, if we were all seated at a table, if we had handouts and we were working through that together. So thinking about what is your audience’s preferences and many times when I’m working with individuals who are preparing for a presentation to executive audiences I have to remind them that it’s not about you. When we are presenting, it’s about our audience because that’s who we need to bring in. That’s who we need to have the buy-in from in order to get to results. So, we need to think about their style. We might feel more comfortable presenting in a certain way. We might feel really comfortable presenting a lot of data and really digging into that and debating about specific numbers. But, if our audience is not going to respond well to that, it’s not going to serve the whole.
All right, so analyze relevant strategic factors. And when we think about strategic factors that might be involved this could be the strategic priorities of the organization. So let’s think about that. What are they? How do they relate to my topic? To what I’m presenting? In this conversation I need to think about that because your audience, your executive audience is always thinking strategically. So, we need to show that we are doing the same. Here’s my topic about my department about my little corner of the world. But I’m also going to bring this into context with the whole. I’m going to connect the dots. I’m going to look at how my corner of the world impacts the larger picture, the strategic priority of the organization for instance. Another thing is how it relates to different parts of the organization, different functions might bump up against each other, perhaps with what I’m planning. How it impacts customers, market value, the future of the organization. There’s a lot that we consider when we think about strategic factors and I encourage you to do so as you are crafting your message. Many times we don’t take the next step which is to state our desired outcome. What do we want to have happen? Many times if you are in a presentation and it seems a little like it’s off the wheels, as if we don’t know where we are going, it might be that that presenter did not identify very specifically what their desired outcome was. And this is an important thing to do. You don’t always have to say your desired outcome out loud to your audience, but it’s a really good thing for you to own and know before you go in.
Determine core message components in the structure. This is another thing I need to think about before I go in. Now I could do all of this in five minutes. If someone said to me, Suzanne, yeah that thing you’re working on, I need you to give us an update and I and having a meeting in five minutes. Can you just duck in and tell us how it’s going? What I would do in that five minutes is I would consider the preferences of my audience. I would think about those strategic factors. How does this bump up against other things in the organization? What’s my desired outcome? What do I want to have happen? And what’s my core message components. I want to make sure I mentioned this, and this, and this. And what’s my structure for that? I want to give you a few minutes to think about the last two bullets here. Very important for your presentation and I’ll share with you what mine are. For me, my desired outcome is to get the green light for additional resources. I’m providing an update to my executive team on this project, and I have recognized that we need more resources. So I need to get that greenlight from them. This is my desired outcome and I am going for it. So let me give you a moment here to think about your desired outcome for your presentation. In a sense this will be your anchor. So give you moment to think about that. All right, your plan is coming along nicely. You got your audience, your situation, the style of your audience and then you just thought about what that desired outcome is what you want to accomplish. Next I’d like you to think about what those core message components are. This is your agenda in a sense. This is the points you want to make sure you get to. And, for me, I have proposed resource increase and this is for my deductive audience members. They want to know, all right great, she wants an increase in resources. What is that? And be specific. Current project production data, this might give the data to the systematics and it would also show why we need additional resources. Here’s where we are now, here’s where we need the resources. It proves my point. Project vision, showing them what the vision is for this project and why it’s important. And a call to action. My call to action would be please give us a thumbs up for additional resources. So I am calling them to action. I want to give you a moment to grapple with this. Think about those components and what’s the key core message component that you need to bring into your presentation. So just a moment to list those out and brainstorm them. All right, hopefully you had a chance to jot down those core message components. There might be two, there might be three. Maybe there’s more. But what are those key things you want to make sure that you have included in your message to your audience.
All right, let’s go back to the drivers and the next driver for us is preparation. And this again is key. What are those key things, those essential things that we need to consider when we are preparing for our presentation? We need to continue to think strategically and as we’re thinking strategically we are thinking things like where should I stand as a present, or should I be seated? Some of the things that we talked about earlier. What questions will they ask? How will I answer those? What if someone takes over in the audience? So, we find someone in the audience who wants to take over the presentation or the conversation then I have lost my hold and my credibility in that moment what can I do? Have a plan in place for that. What if I have less time? For instance they scheduled me to talk for 45 minutes and then suddenly they say you only have 10. What can I do? With that, what I recommend for you is to have a boiled down version of your presentation. So you might have, if it’s a slide deck, you might have a deck of 15 and then find a way of summarizing those 15 slides down to five and just have the summary slides. Fine, only have five minutes, great. And then you bring your five slides up. All right, so this is something certainly. A test run for your message. This is something that I highly recommend. Doesn’t count if you don’t say it out loud. And you don’t do it physically. In other words if you’re going to be seated in your presentation, find yourself a space, maybe a conference room we can practice this, say it out loud. If you’re only practicing in your head, any of those strange words or stumbling over words or moments when you feel inadequate or not able to explain something, that’s going to come out on your presentation. It’s better for it to come out in your practice time. So, test run your message. Remain aware of game day factors. What time of day will I be presenting this information? Is it late afternoon, is it Friday afternoon? Is there some other factor around that day? This is the same day where they’re making a specific kind of announcement. I need to make sure that I factor that in. This brings us into the next one which is accounting for contingencies and being flexible. And this goes back to those characteristics of executive presence such as openness. I am open to whatever comes my way. I have composure no matter what’s going on around me. So, having that certainly is essential for your preparation thinking about this contingencies and planning ahead. Staying focused on getting results. This is something that you certainly want to remain focused on. If the conversation is going off track, bring it back. Drive it back to those results you’re looking for. And then establish your internal commitment. And I want to talk for a minute about what that internal commitment is. So, a definition here. It is an unwavering dedication to what you believe is right, even when the going gets tough. This is that secret component that I talked about earlier. This is your anchor. This is where your passion comes from. This is what helps you in the storm. If I’m getting questions or people are testing what I’m saying, I can come back to this. Let me share mine with you and then you can think about what yours is. For my presentation my anchor, my internal commitment is the successful completion of this project will give employees increased confidence to better serve our customers. So this is something that I can keep my mind on if things get tense or conflict arises or I feel I’m losing my way, I come back to this. This is a passionate belief for me. And this will drive me through no matter what is happening.
The final thing to talk about here is strong delivery. And a few key points for you here. Setting those expectations with the receiver, and this can even be before you walk into the room. What are those expectations for the presentation? Maybe you send an agenda and let them know what you want to accomplish. I need you to make a decision by the time we leave. Speakers neutral, this is a way of standing that is neutral. It’s in between gestures, is in between movement, it’s open body posture. And the way that it looks as you are standing, you are lifted, your spine is nice and lifted. If you are standing and your arms are released to the sides. So it’s a nice open body gesture to your audience. An engaged voice. Things that we want to think about, the pitch of our voice. Using the full range of our voice. Using some energy underneath our voice. Many times people will talk about, well, I’m not a loud person. I can’t speak in a loud voice. What I encourage people to think about is putting energy underneath your voice. If you put energy into your voice, there’s going to be a nice variation in your voice, and the volume will come as well. Using narrative techniques to express passion. Narrative techniques are things like analogies, metaphors, stories, bringing in a story that illuminates the topic can also be used. And this is where we get back to that conciseness. This is sticking to your core message components that you created earlier. And maintaining that internal commitment that we identified earlier, this is that thing that I believe, that brings passion to me. There is follow-through as well and that is that final piece and then we are always focused on getting results. I want to thank you all for being with me. I see that work close to our end time. Again my name is Suzanne McCall and I am from Pinnacle Group, and we’d love to hear from you. If you have further questions or if there is anything we can support you with, you can call the number on the screen and speak with Kerri. But we would love to hear from you, and I thank you so much for being part of our audience today. And Sarah I will hand it back to you at this point.
SARAH: All right perfect, Suzanne, thank you so much. And it is 3 o’clock and we do not have time for that live Q and A, but attendees go ahead and send us your questions and you will receive an email response with Suzanne’s answered questions probably about mid next week. So while we wait, let me share a little bit more about the assessment that Suzanne referenced today. And that is, What’s My Communication Style? It’s a proven training assessment that identifies an individual’s dominate communication style, direct, spirited, considerate, or systematic, and the communication behaviors that distinguished it. Getting started is easy with no certification required. Order the kit and online or print guides at 40% off today and run your first pilot session. And for a limited time use coupon code webinartalk40 at checkout. So, Suzanne, would you just like to add any final thoughts before I wrap up the session?
SUZANNE I would just like to say be willing to be passionate. That is the key thing here. Don’t lose your passion. That’s for your authenticity is. And that’s what’s going to fuel you through any conversation or presentation. So, find your passion connected with your message and, live it, demonstrate it.
SARAH: All right, perfect, thank you. And a big thanks to our sponsor the HRDQ style series. This is a full line of easy to use personality assessments, sheds light on key areas from leadership, coaching, time management, and teambuilding. The style series is an excellent way to introduce personality training and help others understand why people act the way they do. And if your organization is interested in sponsoring an HRDQU webinar, you can go ahead and reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Give your brand a boost and exposure through sponsorship. So, we appreciate your time and we hope you found today’s webinar informative. Thank you.
Executive presence may be hard to define, but we know it when we see it. This individual walks into a room and make instant connections. Conversation opens up to involve them. When they speak, they create total engagement. When the waters get rough, they remain grounded and open to the world around them. When they lead, people follow.
Not everyone gets the opportunity to capture the attention of decision makers at the highest level. In this one hour webinar join Suzanne McCall, Senior Consultant, Pinnacle Group as she helps you: enhance your existing skills, develop personal awareness and increase your confidence and strategies for navigating this challenging and inspiring terrain.
Participants Will Learn
- Learn the key factors for executive level presentation success
- Discover the drivers of presentation results
- Develop the framework for a well-aligned executive level presentation
Who Should Attend
- Human Resources Professionals
- Organizational Development Professionals
Suzanne McCall, Senior Consultant with Pinnacle Group Business Resources LLC has been working with leaders across all industries as they seek to enhance their leadership and management skills. Through a highly interactive learning process and through one-on-one coaching, Suzanne has contributed to the effectiveness of local, regional, national and global leaders. She is a noted authority in expanding physical and vocal communication effectiveness.
She has managed Business Development positions as well as leading Global Programming positions that have provided experiences that translate across all industries. Suzanne has been recognized for her engaging presentation style and her ability to encourage high performance through coaching. Clients consistently describe Suzanne as dynamic, challenging and always focused on business results.