You are a leader who communicates often and you know your own foibles and idiosyncrasies and I don’t mean that weird thing where you think a flat white is still a real coffee.
I’m talking about the way you present to staff, managers, clients, boards and industry conferences. You know, all the stuff that requires you to work till midnight re-working the presentation and debating whether Helvetica is a good font.
Each executive has his/her own gifts (presents) but to truly engage with all stakeholders you should be flexible enough to have different styles for different presentations.
Here are the four key styles that will give you flexibility and presence.
This exec loves the limelight, talks fast and excitedly about Vision, Values and Success. S/he is optimistic, energetic and is adept at describing the big picture. The motivator is also great at storytelling and innovative ideas too.
The downside is that some people don’t understand how all that Vision stuff relates to them in Finance, Logistics or Operations. They don’t necessarily buy in to the changes you are trying to implement across the company. Despite the shiny presentation and video, nothing changes.
The Executive Counsellor loves consensus, bringing people together, off site group strategy sessions with fine wine and 5 course working lunches (gluten free, of course). You consult widely, build your networks and rather than present, you facilitate group thinking really well and people feel heard and appreciated.
The key issue can be that nothing actually gets resolved and actioned amidst the GroupThink. Decisions are delayed and change management is deferred affecting longer term performance.
3. The General
In true military fashion, the General is demanding, rules with an iron fist and there are strict rules and reporting mechanisms to adhere to. When you present, everyone knows where they stand and the rules are very clear to all stakeholders.
The negative aspect of this is that people are often fearful and so rules driven that innovation, ideas and fun are often comprehensively quashed. The wag’s description of this would be ‘Come on, innovate….by COB Thursday’.
4. The Analyst
S/he loves their spreadsheets and project plans so much they would marry them if it was legal. You adore presenting slides filled with figures, projections, statistics and market share trends, then add some more spreadsheets at the end because the first 92 slides weren’t enough.
The unfortunate part of this presentation approach is that everyone outside of Finance is playing on their Smartphone or pondering whether they took the Porterhouse Steak out of the fridge that morning.
So, which style of presenter are you?
What do you do to become more adaptable?
Perhaps you could ask a trusted source about the upside of your dominant behaviour and then use the language and behaviour of other styles to flex your presentations and give them the best possible chance to engage more people, more often in more ways.
Sometimes the Motivator needs to have a bit more of the Analyst. Other times, the Counsellor needs to stand up and present like a General.
You get the gist.
Your innate gifts may be well received by some, but flexibility is the key to executive presence.
Written by Elliot Epstein, CEO, Salient Communication
Elliot has trained and coached over 3000 people throughout the Asia Pacific Region including CEOs, Olympians and Leadership teams and is a sought after keynote speaker on Executive Presentations, Sales, Negotiation and Leadership.