Savvy Executives Engage a Public Speaking Coach to increase credibility

Executive Speaking 

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.



Email   Cell # 082 457 5752

@LynnBakerSpeaker   #LynnBakerSpeakr    #executivepresence  #executivespeaking

Mastering the art of delivering dynamic Business Presentation Skills

Executive doing a Speech pic

“A presentation should be like a ladies skirt,

 long enough to cover the subject but short enough to create interest”

Winston Churchill

To find out more about the Public Speaking & Business Presentation Skills coaching by Lynn Baker – Certified World Class Speaking Coach, please go to :-


Exec Presence slide 1 jpg

Executive Presence is not a title that you give yourself, it is an honoury title bestowed upon you by colleagues, peers and constituents, because you have gained professional credibility and earned their respect.

Executive Presence is the ultimate level that a person achieves when their physical, mental and emotional state has matured to such a degree, that they inspire others to trust them in the role of leadership in companies, corporations and countries.

The concept of Executive Presence is not an exact science, it is an elusive term that has prompted many studies by reputable Universities around the world, to uncover its attributes and define its legitimacy.

Executive Presence is defined by a complex combination of internal and external attributes. To a large degree, presence is about the impressions we create and the perceptions others receive of us.  However, as elusive as this concept is, the one thing we do know for sure about Executive Presence, is that it must come from a base of authenticity. Authenticity is the ability to be true to oneself and not present a façade. Humans have an innate ability to quickly determine authenticity and the lack of it can and will, diminish your credibility.

The internal attributes of presence refer to the social and emotional intelligence of an individual and their ability to connect and interact on all levels. Emotionally mature leaders have the ability to develop lasting relationships of trust that inspire others to grow and flourish under their command.  Internal attributes also refer to the characteristics of an individual, such as confidence, charisma and humility. An essential ingredient of Executive Presence is a strong value system, as honesty, integrity; respect and compassion are the foundation on which relationships of trust are built.

The external attributes of Executive Presence refer to the professional appearance of the individual, as well poise, posture and body language. Although corporate dress code has changed dramatically over the last decade, there is still a stereotype perception of how one is expected to dress when in a position of power. Posture contributes largely to how one is perceived and recent studies show that individuals make a judgement about you within 100 milliseconds of meeting you, it is therefore imperative that one’s image is seriously considered when looking to develop higher levels of presence.  Strong personal branding is just the starting point in developing Executive Presence, aspiring leaders need to move to the next level and position themselves as ‘Thought Leaders’ in their industry in order to make it to the top.

A leaders’ ability to communicate at all levels is a crucial quality that one must develop in order to gain high levels of credibility. Sadly, this is often one of the most underutilised tools in a leaders’ toolbox that they often neglect to develop.  In today’s fast paced world of electronic communication, we often forget to stop and actively listen during conversations, because attention is continuously diverted by the multitude of media on our smartphones and electronic devices.  Active listening is a powerful way to connect and build rapport with others and leaders would be well advised to consider whether they actually practice active listening or if they are pretending to be listening.

Excelling in the art of Public Speaking is the pinnacle of exuding high levels of Executive Presence, as this is the time one is judged the most. Many high level executives now work with a Public Speaking Coach to ensure that they make the most

of every speaking opportunity to develop credibility and raise their professional profile.

If one aspires to increasing their levels of Executive Presence, there are 6 essential elements that need to be focused on:-

Confidence           Improve levels of self-perception – avoid arrogance

Connecting            Focus on developing relationships of trust

Competence         Shift from Competence to Business Intelligence

Credibility              Evolve from Person Branding to Professional positioning

Communication     Practice active listening and master the art of Public Speaking

Charisma                Manage your mojo – permanently positive attitude, high energy & Gravitas

Why do we need to develop ‘Executive Presence’

Why Do You Need Executive Presence


 We find that most of the Characteristics that

differentiate the outstanding performers

are those things

that we call social and emotional competencies

Richard Boyatzis, 2008  Emotional Intelligence

Studies by Harvard University, Stanford Research Institute and The Carnegie Foundation indicate that while academics are essential, over 85% of one’s career success can be directly attributed to social skills, all of which can be developed.


Social skills are the skills we use to communicate with each other, both verbally and non-verbally, through gestures, body language and image. In addition to this, soft skills are also described as how we make people ‘feel’ about us and this includes the study of emotional intelligence and inter personal skills.

Developing your ‘soft skills’ will enable you to

  • To increase your level of personal impact on others
  • To progress in your career
  • To be remembered
  • To be listened to by your superiors, peers and direct reports
  • To increase your self-confidence
  • To develop relationships of trust and loyalty
  • To be considered an important member of your team

What is Executive Presence

Executive Presence refers to those people who walk into a room and for some reason; everyone turns to look at them, when they speak – people listen and when they lead, others follow – what is it that these people have got and how do we get it?


Succeeding in today’s competitive business environment requires performance driven individuals to display skills on a multitude of levels.  As business thrusts forward at the speed of light, leaders of tomorrow are required to have an extraordinary combination of academic excellence; business savvy and leadership insight in order to really succeed.  The pressure is on, the demands are great and the stakes are high!  

But are academic qualifications and business experience enough, or is there more to making it to the top?  – Well yes there is and experts say the missing link to corporate success lies in perfecting the ‘softer skills’ of leadership – what they are referring to is Executive Presence.

Executive Presence refers to those people who walk into a room and for some reason everyone turns to look at them, when they speak – people listen and when they lead, others follow.  They command authority – exude energy that is magnetic and possess charisma that is captivating!  Their appearance is impeccable; they present themselves with confident composure, perfect poise and an exceptional ability to develop relationships of trust.

These are the people you see in Boardrooms, in TV interviews and on covers of magazines, because they have earned the respect that makes their opinions important.  They are the thought leaders in their profession and they have succeeded to the positions of power in the corporate.

So what is Executive Presence? – Is it a new business school buzzword or is there some real substance to this concept?

Executive Presence is best described as the X Factor in business and refers to those seemingly intangible attributes that exceptional leaders display, over and above their academic qualifications and business experience. In essence it is about ‘Perception Management’ – managing the perceptions and impressions that you leave with staff, customers and stakeholders and this is done by creating a powerful personal brand combined with highly developed communication and relationship building skills, all skilfully packaged together with an impeccable personal appearance.

In the next blog, we will explore why we need Executive Presence.