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Learning how to communicate effectively and clearly is a key point for any aspiring senior executive. Today, it is crucial for leaders to speak concisely and confidently and to communicate their messages clearly. Senior executives need to be able to inspire groups on all ends and, oftentimes that can start and end with a presentation.

As you prepare to present as a leader, here are ten questions that might come up, and some quick-tips to help you get ready. 

1. Why is my audience staring at their cell phones?

Be sure to grab your audience’s attention quickly and get right to the point. An important part of your presentation will be keeping your audience engaged and focused on what you have to say. 


2. Imagining my audience naked doesn’t seem to help with my speech anxiety.

You are not the only one with speech anxiety. Envision yourself presenting well and receiving positive feedback from the audience. 


3. How can I inspire my audience?

Inspire internal and external groups with stories and factual narratives: this can help you keep your audience engaged and eager for your next point.


4. How can I express “executive presence?”

Body language is key to being an efficient communicator. Stand up straight, use natural gestures and don’t forget to smile. 


5. What should I wear?

Reflect your personal brand and your organization’s culture before you get up in front of a room.


6. How can I be a memorable panelist?

Be quick, sharp, and have relevant statistics at the ready to keep your audience interested. A successful panel performance will garner more invitations. 


7. What if I get off track?

Know your pivot phrases to keep the presentation on topic. If you lose your train of thought, don't be afraid to pause and collect your thoughts. 


8. How do I answer questions I don’t want to answer?

Questions can come from left field. Be ready to reframe negative questions with positive examples to reinforce your main message.


9. How do you prepare for Q & A?

You know your subject matter - what follow-up questions would you ask? Make a list of those questions and rehearse your responses aloud - to a colleague - or even the bathroom mirror.


10. How can ensure quality conent for my panel?

Cast panelists who can contribute to the conversation at hand and who you have heard present before. Always have a conference call or meeting prior to the actual panel to build rapport. 


Want more expert advice on Presenting as a Leader? Register here.

These questions and tips are just the beginning of the road to Presenting As a Leader. The award-winning journalists of The Communication Center an The University of Virginia Darden Executive Education have partnered again to help aspiring senior executives foster the skills to communicate clearly and influentially. To flesh out these points, and to gain a deeper ability to present as a leader, sign up for TCC & Darden’s joint course: Excellence in Communication: Presenting As a Leader.

A picture says a thousand words, but does a picture that you can look at for 10 seconds or less really do the same thing? According to 100 million daily Snapchat users everywhere, yes. 

Snapchat launched in 2011 and was an instant hit for its disappearing photos. In an age of visual culture, and an age of “what goes on the internet stays on the internet,” Snapchat is the perfect fix. While the ghost logo is still socially relevant for youngsters, different businesses and organizations have begun using Snapchat as a platform for marketing, transparency, and information. 

The White House uses Snapchat to cover important events taking place within its walls, giving its followers a new take on the work of the administration, as well as including facts and information on important issues. 

Thinking of communicating with a Snapchat audience for business? Here are some tips to get you started: 

1. Identify your business's typical events and moments that are Snap-worthy.

Strategize your marketing end goal, and tailor your images and ideas to it. Brainstorm likely scenarios that your audiences will find interesting.  Snapchat often showcases videos or photos that are “behind the scenes.” This may include impromptu interviews and quick “tours.” This planning will help you recognize a “snap” moment when you see one.   

2. What is the deal with the Snapchat Ghost icon?

A handy feature on Snapchat is scanning the ghost logo anywhere it shows up, and automatically adding a friend. For example, if you wanted to add The White House using the ghost icon, open the app on your phone, go to the camera, and scan the @whitehouse ghost logo. You will have added them on Snapchat. Another way to add friends is to tap the ghost icon at the top of your screen, tap “Add Friends” and type in the handle manually.

Develop followers, advertise your newest marketing platform to your usual audience and then some. Often times, all it takes is knowing a company of interest has a Snapchat, and then being aware of the handle. 

3. Geofilters, stickers, tags - and puppy ears. Welcome to Snapchat.

Content can range from a funny picture of coworkers using your product, events in the office, or even Snapchat tutorials for using your product. You’ve got a 10 second limit per snap, so if you want to break your coverage into portions, you’ll have to be clear and concise. Simply take a picture or a video, tap your screen to add text, and then send.

An easy way to spice up your content is to use the tools in the upper right hand corner. You can illustrate with your fingers, add stickers, or change the size of your text. Furthermore, you can take advantage of swiping in either direction on your screen, adding a geofilter, which is typically an illustrated location tag, the time, or the temperature. 


Does your business use or plan to use Snapchat? Let us know!


 fresh or faked? usmagazine.comBy Steve Piacente, Executive Communications Coach

If you remember nothing else about the fireworks scandal of 2016, remember this: the days of getting away with it are over.

Those we know well, and even not so well - be they individuals, corporations or even revered public broadcast networks - better remember that social media has placed a powerful megaphone in the hands of anyone with a smart phone and internet access.

PBS was reminded of all this the other day after someone decided it would be best for viewers and patriotism to mix old and new Washington, D.C. fireworks footage in a supposedly live broadcast on Independence Day.

Viewers – thousands of them – quickly figured out what was going on. Their fuse was short and the bang was loud. “Only in DC could a PBS fireworks show become a scandal,” tweeted “thedcfloridian.”

PBS apologized, at first saying it was “the patriotic thing to do,” then adding it was trying to provide the best viewing experience possible on a wet, dreary night.

PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, as reported by and others, said the critics were right. "Why the producers and the on-camera hosts … could not take 10 seconds to say (or post on the screen) something like: 'To you folks out there around the country watching on television, the weather is not so good here on the nation's front lawn tonight and you can't see the fireworks very well, so we are going to show you clips from earlier displays …’ is, to me, sort of mind-boggling." 

And yet these lapses occur with astonishing frequency - at restaurants, during traffic stops, on airplanes, and in classrooms. Pick your venue. Odds are someone has done something dumb, offensive or clumsy, and someone else has recorded and posted it. 

Interestingly, the Washington Post says fireworks are “supposed to be beautiful” and PBS actually did the right thing.

Not the point. The point is that fakery is upsetting, especially when it comes from a trusted source. So:

1. Be credible. Losing or damaging your credibility will not only be embarrassing, it could also hurt the annual fundraising drive.

2. Be authentic. If you’re in the public eye, don’t assume you know what’s best for people. Explain your thinking before making unilateral decisions.

3. Be mindful. Remember that Twitter, Yelp, Instagram and a dozen others are only a few clicks away. And that reporters monitor and mine them for leads as much as they once chatted up the clerks at the county courthouse.

4. Be candid. Own your mistakes. Apologize (as PBS did), and quickly lay out the plan to avoid a similar mistake in the future.

As the smoke clears from the great fireworks snafu, it seems PBS has learned its lesson and will not suffer last damage. Or do you disagree?



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