Communicator’s Checklist: Are You Presenting as a Leader

Written by Golzar Meamar

October 14, 2016

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 content 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.