Leadership Connections Blog
The old adage is true: It’s not what you say, but how you say it.
Lori was very sharp leader with a strong reputation. She knew her subject matter and could present accurate and concise information at any time. However, in Lori’s case, it was the way in which she presented information to a specific audience that needed further development.
She could be so focused on delivering content during presentations that she did not take the opportunity to connect with her audience and incorporate their “feedback.” She did not read their reactions and adjust the presentation accordingly to foster the kind of open dialogue that could facilitate decision-making. And because she had not been adept at encouraging that give and take during her presentation, that dialogue started happening after the presentation – without her.
We recommended that Lori spend time on practicing her delivery skills instead of practicing her content. Specifics include:
- Effectively use eye contact with all participants – and in particular with key participants at specific times during the presentation
- Assess nonverbal cues to gain feedback
- Use questions to gauge participants’ responses
- Adjust your presentation as needed – in real time – based on the information you gather
These skills are part of a larger skills-set called Executive Presence, a key factor in leadership success. Learn more about Executive Presence here.
Lori agreed she needs to improve and evolve her presentation style in a way that would allow her to connect with her audience.
Lori has had two opportunities to present to executive team members in the last month. Her improved delivery skills allowed her to both surface and respond to relevant questions her stakeholders had. She was successful in gaining approval for her recommendation through a combination of “knowing her stuff” AND connecting with her audience, allowing them to feel she understood and was willing to address their needs and concerns.