Do you have the leadership presentation skills your team need from you?
Presentation skills are often referred to as a ‘soft skill’ in many organisations.
At Mindful Presenter we believe that there is nothing ‘soft’ about the art of communication. We would go as far as to say that it is the most important skill in the world today.
Human beings need to connect with one another
Abraham Maslow calls it belonging/love, whilst Tony Robbins refers to it as connection/love. At Mindful Presenter we believe that, ‘connecting is everything’.
Whether you are an engineer, lawyer, teacher or tailor, the way we communicate with each other is extremely important.
Having the ability to speak doesn’t necessarily make us good at it. Anyone can share information. Whether our content is clearly understood is an entirely different matter. Some leaders think that there are no technical competencies attached to communication. That belief fuels the myth that communication doesn’t affect the financial success of their business. There is often an assumption that just because we can speak well during an interview, we can all communicate effectively.
What’s the problem?
Poor communication is a bit like high blood pressure. If you neglect it for too long the consequences can be disastrous.
At school we are taught to read, remember and repeat. We learn a wide range of skills, although, effective communication is often one of them.
Some of us move on to higher education and the growing pressure to pass exams increases exponentially. We learn to read, remember and repeat at a much higher level. How much time is invested in helping us to speak with confidence, clarity and impact?
We leave school, graduate from college or university and suddenly find ourselves in a new world.
It’s a world where the most important skill we need to survive let alone thrive is communication. One day we are asked to present our work or ideas to colleagues or customers and the panic sets in. It’s no wonder that so many people have some anxiety about public speaking.
What leadership presentation skills does your team need from you?
Start with abandoning the delusion that communication is a ‘soft skill’. Here are 8 things every leader can do to help their teams communicate more effectively.
1. Create trust
Trust begins with honesty, openness and transparency. Invest as much time and energy as you can encouraging your team to speak openly.
Create a culture where everyones voice is valued and respected. Nurture an environment where people can feel and be themselves. Assure your team that they don’t have to edit everything they say just because you are the boss.
2. Start connecting
Every organisation has its own internal communication culture. Much of the ‘corporate speak’ our teams hear every day isn’t very helpful.
Stop churning out emails and updates in a language that very few people understand. It’s not how most people speak themselves.
Only send it to those who it’s completely relevant to. Make it personal, human, relevant and engaging. Whether you are writing it or saying it, make sure that it’s focused on connecting with the team.
3. Show vulnerability
If you want your team to present their ideas with passion, purpose and energy, lead the way. Show them how to do it first. Help them how to be open and know that it’s fine to feel vulnerable. Show them how to lighten up, relax and not take everything so seriously. Help them to be themselves rather than simply their job title.
Avoid the ‘corporate speak’ by being yourself. and show them that’s how you want them to be too.
4. ‘I don’t know’
In our presentation training workshops we help professionals to find the courage to simply say ‘I don’t know’. It’s not really a presentation skills issue, it’s a leadership one.
We work with people everyday who are told it’s unacceptable to say ‘I don’t know’. They work in a culture where they are expected to know the answer to every question.
Make it acceptable and easy for people to be honest and tell you they ‘don’t know’. Help them to find the answer.
5. Lighten up
– It’s the monthly management meeting.
– Everyone arrives and sits in exactly the same seat they sit in every month.
– The team takes it in turn to go around the room to share their update.
– They read out the same KPI’s that they do every month in the same voice.
– Each presenter fends off a barrage of questions from the most senior person in the room.
It’s predicatble and tedious.
Do whatever it takes to make every meeting different, fun and engaging. Most of all make them something that your team can look forward to rather than dread.
6. Keep it conversational
No one likes to be lectured to.
As leaders we each have an opportunity to connect with our teams in a far more conversational manner. Keep your message personal, focused and tailored to the people you are speaking with. Involve them, and ask them how they feel.
Please don’t lecture them.
7. Feelings matter
Be absolutely clear before you begin to speak how you want people to feel. How do you want them to feel:
– The moment you begin to speak
– All the time they are with you
– The moment they walk out of the door
Most people will forget most of what you said by the time they return to their desk. They won’t however, forget how you made them feel.
Please keep in mind that there is nothing ‘soft’ or easy about communicating effectively. It’s one of the hardest things we have to do every day. Help your team to get good at it. Give them the presentation skills to speak with confidence.
8. Leave nothing to chance
Revisit your leadership presentation skills across the 8 important areas above.
Once you’ve committed to help your team to find, value and express their true voice, take action.
– Book them onto a powerful public speaking course.
– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.
– Get your team some excellent presentation training
I really hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please feel free to share it through your preferred social media channels below and subscribe to our mailing list so you won’t miss any future posts.
Has this article inspired you to learn a little more about how effective your presentation skills are? You may want to take a look at our presentation training and public speaking coaching pages to see how we may be able to help you. You will also find a great deal of really helpful ‘free’ information in our Learning Centre.