All too often, leaders at corporate and executive levels neglect to work on their communication and presentation skills, relying on their team to deliver presentations on their behalf. When they do have to give a presentation, they often just rhyme off the information without paying much heed to their method or style of delivery.
This ‘bare minimum’ mindset leads to a cycle of delivering sub-par presentations, believing this standard to be acceptable. However, this is a huge mistake — one that could end up costing a company dearly in the long run.
Being able to communicate effectively is a skill that every leader should prioritise and develop continuously.
In this article, we aim to outline why executive presentation skills are a key factor in cultivating leadership success.
Why are executive presentation skills important?
When most people think of presentations, they picture a speaker standing in front of a room full of people.
However, presentations take many forms, including everyday activities such as:
- Conference calls
- Conferences and networking functions
- Staff and management updates
- Pitching to clients
In these situations (and many more), effective presentation skills have a huge role to play in how your message is communicated and received by others.
Research shows that teams whose leaders communicate effectively with them are more productive, while poorly-managed work groups are on average 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed groups.
Developing the right mindset and building your core presentation and communication skills are two of the most essential components of successful leadership. Based on research by Peter Miller, leaders spend 75%–90% of their time on communication activities.
Miller mapped out the critical communication skills leaders need at the various levels in the organisational hierarchy, arguing that ‘everything a leader does to influence others involves communicating’ and ‘good communication skills are the foundation of effective leadership.’
We cannot talk about leadership without mentioning Executive Presence (EP).
People often find executive presence difficult to describe but can recognise it instantly when they encounter it. We all know people who have it. That someone whose demeanour projects an air of confidence that we are immediately engrossed in.
This person has the power to transform a room or a conversation and is a clear leader amongst their peers.
EP and executive presentation skills work in tandem with each other, enabling you to share your vision in a way that inspires, engages and truly resonates with your audience.
Developing executive presentation skills is a significant part of developing your overall executive presence. From learning what to do with your hands when you’re speaking publicly and avoiding body language that can undermine your authority, to developing values-based communication skills – continuously working on your presentation skills is one of the key components of creating leaders within any organisation.
As we discussed in a previous article, all successful relationships must have a strong foundation of trust. This is something that evolves as you nurture the relationship with your audience, exemplifying your core values through your actions and demonstrating that you are worthy of their trust.
As a leader, the way you present yourself and communicate with others is of paramount importance. That is why delivering a presentation is a prime opportunity to connect with your audience and start building that foundation of trust which you will continue to nurture as time goes on.
Executive presentation skills training teaches you how to connect with your audience and gain their trust and respect and over time these skills permeate almost every aspect of your daily communication.
Persuading and influencing others
Leaders set goals. And, for a leader to achieve their goals both in the short term and long term, they often need to get teams of people on board with their way of thinking and all pulling in the same direction.
To do this, they need to be able to inspire and influence.
One of the most effective ways to do this is by delivering an engaging presentation that people will relate to and remember. This is where storytelling and presentation skills come in, proving themselves useful in all kinds of situations, including:
- Directing company strategy
- Influencing boardroom decisions
- Inspiring your team
- Closing a sale
- Persuading and influencing partners and stakeholders
Corporate storytelling is a powerful tool that has multiple uses in any organisation, from communicating core strategies to defining brand values.
Its primary function is to present data or a concept in a compelling way, getting your audience to buy into the core message that you are trying to deliver.
This is one of the hallmarks of a great leader, and it all boils down to effective communication and presentation skills.
Executive presentation skills and leadership success
As we have seen, leadership success is largely based on your ability to present your vision in a way that inspires and drives others to help you achieve it.
This requires you to gain a deep understanding of your audience. What are you trying to get them to do or understand? What style of messaging will resonate with them? The needs of your audience should form the backbone of your presentation, with all of your key points supporting it.
Delivering a great presentation is only half the battle — you also need to be prepared to answer any questions your audience may have.
Developing your ability to watch your audience closely and gauge their reactions while delivering a presentation will allow you to anticipate their questions and respond with thoughtful, knowledgeable answers.
Concentrating on getting your points across while also watching your audience for subtle cues and facial expressions might seem like a daunting task, but with training and practice it becomes second nature.
Executive presentation skills training helps you master the art of communicating with clarity, poise, and authority. This goes a long way towards establishing your reputation as a credible, trustworthy leader every time you speak in front of an audience, whether large or small.
What do you need to succeed?
Delivering presentations with clarity and confidence doesn’t come naturally to most people, even those who are experts in their field. It is something that needs to be worked on and developed over time and is considered one of the most difficult skills to truly master.
To succeed, leaders must have access to the right information, tools and support. This involves three basic elements:
1. Being taught the skills by a team of experienced professionals
2. Receiving constructive feedback so you can improve
3. Feeling supported as you develop your leadership style and hone your skills
Executive presentation skills training covers all of these, making it a worthwhile investment for any leader who wants to boost the impact and influence of their presentations.
Executive Presentation Skills Training
At NxtGEN Executive Presence, we can help you to strengthen your corporate communication skills and become a leader amongst your peers.
Our team has been providing presentation skills training to business leaders and company executives for decades.
Get empowered with the skills you need to inspire, persuade, and blow away your audience whether in the board room, as part of a conference keynote presentation, a strong sales pitch or just influencing your colleagues to make the right decisions.
Each of our packages can be tailored to cater to your needs, so get in touch today and let us help you develop your executive presentation skills.