What comes to mind when you think of a great leader? Typically, a strong, authoritative presence, someone with influence and gravitas who can command your attention, engage and enthuse you.
Whilst these characteristics come naturally to some, others need to learn and hone them.
This is an exciting prospect for anyone looking to take their leadership to the next level. We each have the potential to become a great leader. However, we need to know how to develop those characteristics. We also need to have the commitment to see it through.
So how do we go about this?
Think before you deliver
Being able to communicate powerfully is fundamental to becoming a great leader. Which is why when you look around at great leaders they can all present with great skill.
Crucially though, it is not so much about what you say, but how you deliver and the words you use.
Two people can stand up and communicate essentially the same subject matter, but the way in which it is delivered will influence the reception it receives. Julian Treasure, founder of the world’s first strategic sound consultancy speaks about using four powerful cornerstones to frame how you deliver what you wish to say. These are honesty, authenticity, integrity and love. He argues that if you use these four as a framework when communicating, people will listen. Be negative, confuse fact with opinion, or exaggerate the facts and your audience will switch off.
Equally important is how you listen and answer questions. In particular, how you handle challenges to your point of viewtake on board other points of view. There is no point working hard to capture everyone’s attention only to lose it because you fail to listen when it’s your audience’s turn to speak. Or even worse, you panic and become defensive when challenged.
Training programmes such the personal impact programmes offered by Positive Consultancy can really help. As well as focusing on how you deliver, they provide coaching on how to improve your listening, how to handle questions and how to recover from difficult situations.
But delivery is only part of the story. What else do you need to develop the presentation skills that will make you a great leader?
It’s not only what you say, but how you say it
Julian describes our voices as tools that we very much under-use. If we deploy them correctly though, they can really get you heard and listened to. When we think about our voice in relation to effective presentation skills, yes, most of us are aware that the slower and deeper the better. However, there is so much more from the timbre of your voice – the smoother the better – to its volume and pitch.
You may be naturally blessed with some or all of these vocal characteristics. If not, they can be learned.
Again, programmes such as the above mentioned personal impact programme can help you develop an inspiring believable vocal line. They can also help you learn how to turn silence into a powerful tool to help you capture and maintain your audience’s attention.
What is your body language saying though?
According to Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy, as humans, we naturally make sweeping judgements based on our body language and can make life changing decisions as a result, such as who to hire or who to date. As a leader, your body language will therefore play a significant role in whether someone decides to trust, believe in and follow you.
Through her studies into the nonverbal expressions of power and dominance, Amy discovered that humans very much reflect the animal kingdom in that they make themselves big, open themselves up and take up space. Likewise, they do the opposite when they are fearful or afraid. She wanted to see whether you could turn instinctive reflex on its head. By making yourself display nonverbal expressions of power and dominance, could you make yourself feel powerful? Could we in fact make our bodies change our minds? Experiments she ran yielded conclusive results that they did.
When it comes to good presentation skills, being able to control your nonverbal reflexes in this way can really make a difference as to whether you can win over your audience or not.
A little less conversation, a little more action please
However, knowing and talking about what you need to do to present well to become a better leader is only part of the journey. Committing to it, is the other, which is not always an easy task, and this is where executive leadership coaching can help. Helping you develop a mindset that builds the drive to succeed, to commit to your learning and development, and to take risks and actually take action.
Programmes such as Positive Consultancy’s leadership coaching can help you develop the right mindset to commit yourself to taking the necessary steps to becoming a great leader – a fundamental one of course being to develop and sharpen your presentations skills.
So, there is a great leader within each of us. Finding the right training in presentation skills supported by the right executive leadership coaching to make sure we act is an assured way to bring out the leader within.
If you’d like to know more about how we can help you enhance your presentation skills, get in touch today for a free initial consultation.Book A Free Initial Consultation