More and more savvy executives are engaging the services of a Public Speaking Coach to ensure that time in front of employees and stakeholders builds professional credibility and develops trust.
Successful leaders and politicians have long known that the ability to influence and persuade an audience from the platform is one of the most powerful tools in their brand building box. Successful leaders today require a multitude of skills, but the ability to communicate a powerful message with poise and conviction is still one of the most valuable skills they need to gain recognition and build credibility.
When we think of Barrack Obama, Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King, it is a foregone conclusion that they were strong leaders with the courage of their convictions; but ultimately it was their ability to persuasively communicate a clear, concise message that gained them recognition as experts and propelled them to the status of thought leaders.
The art of public speaking comes more naturally to some than others, but this doesn’t mean that those who were not born with the natural ability to stand and deliver a powerful speech cannot learn to do so. The famous movie ‘The Kings Speech’ portrayed how King George V1 struggled with delivering on his royal duties as a speaker, but with the help of a coach, he overcame his stutter and went on to triumph over his challenges. Lady Margaret Thatcher was also not a naturally good communicator, in fact before her election in 1979, she had lessons with a speech coach at the Royal National Theatre, to help her lower her pitch and develop a calm, authoritative tone. Public Speaking coaches have for centuries assisted all types of leaders to perform at their best and today, more and more business professionals are following suit.
However, even knowing that being an eloquent public speaker and skillful presenter is critical to building professional credibility, many executives are still reluctant to engage the services of a speaker coach to hone their skills, but this thinking is changing rapidly. Many of the world’s top CEO’s, politicians and celebrities call upon the services of a speaking coach to assist them with planning, preparing and delivering important speeches. The amount of time that leaders spend on a stage delivering a speech may be minimal; but this is the time that they are judged the most! It is while they are delivering a presentation that employees decide to follow them or not, stakeholders decide whether to trust them or not and constituents decide to vote for them or not.
Lynn Baker, a Certified Public Speaking Coach and Programme Director for the Henley Business School – ‘Executive Speaker Programme’ (in association with Unique Speaker Bureau, has worked with many of South Africa’s top CEO’s and celebrities, assisting them to construct presentations and deliver keynote speeches. She notes that more and more executives are engaging the assistance of a speaking coach, because they realise that much of their credibility depends on excelling in this area. She goes on to say that there are two areas of public speaking that executives battle with most. The first challenge they experience is consolidating the massive amounts of information they need to share into the short amount of time they have been allocated. Her advice is to consolidate the information down into 3 key points and collate all relevant material under these points. Remember that a presentation should only be an executive summary of all the information you need to share, the details should go into a handout. The next challenge they have is the delivery of a speech or presentation, as they have the perception that they need to be perfect presenters. Lynn’s advice is to not to try and be a professional speaker, rather be as natural as possible. Audiences today do not want picture perfect speakers who data dump information in a boring monologue format. Audiences today want speakers who are authentic, who have a conversation with them, interact with them and use relevant stories to illustrate key points. Successful presenters today know that ‘less is more’ in terms of content and having a conversation with the audience is key to building rapport and trust.
Lynn Baker is a Certified World Class Speaking Coach who has worked with many of Africa’s top CEO’s, MD’S and celebrities. Lynn is also a member of the Unique Speaker Bureau – Premier League of Professional Speakers and Head of the USB Speaker Academy.
LYNN BAKER –
PROFESSIONAL SPEAKER, PUBLIC SPEAKING & EXECUTIVE PRESENCE COACH
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