Today, many executive speakers rely on their job title to hold their audience’s attention rather than their content or delivery style. Those that do are deluding themselves. Why would anybody listen to you unless you have something worthwhile to say? Something that grabs their attention by the scruff of the neck and holds it. Something that speaks to them directly and stirs an emotional reaction. Something that shows that what you are presenting has a real tangible benefit for THEM!
It doesn’t matter whether you are a middle manager or the CEO, you can’t afford to forget that your audience members are the most important people in the room, not you!
Drop the title, drop the management BS and talk to them as human beings.
Your job is to wake them up, not put them to sleep, so think of yourself as a facilitator, not a speaker.
Your role is not to just to fill a slot of time on a conference programme; it is your job to change the way your audience thinks and behaves.
Tip 1 – Get Real
I have heard way too many executive speakers ignore the fact that their staff are frustrated, or scared or just downright sceptical. They pretend that everything in the garden is rosy and in doing so switch off their listeners with their opening remarks.
- Do you know where your people are at
- Are you sure?
- How could you double check?
Tip 2: Have the courage to acknowledge how they feel
The way you present is almost certainly a reflection of all the other executive speakers you have listened to on your journey up the management ladder. The principle of “Monkey see, Monkey do” is alive and kicking in the world of corporate presentations. Empathy is a core communication skill, and it’s not to be mistaken for sympathy. If you don’t know the difference, Google it!
Tip 3: Tell them (or even better show them!) what’s in it for them!
They probably don’t care that much about the share price or the company’s PR. They are usually interested in things a lot closer to home, such as job security, salary, or an IT system that helps rather than hinders. Don’t assume that they will work out the benefits of your presentation for themselves. Spell them out front and centre! Sell them on why it is in their interest to listen to what you have to say.