Helping Leaders Become Better Speakers

The key to truly effective speaking of any form lies in the ability
of a leader to let his or her personality shine through

Our Athena Alliance partner is always amazed at people who have the misconception that successful leaders have no trouble communicating with an audience. These people argue that leaders who are charting a course to continued prosperity for their companies couldn’t possibly worry about making a speech or presentation. Yet not all leaders are good speakers. Some may be thrust into a senior role with little experience in public speaking. Others may be overly confident; failing to realize that when they speak their audience isn’t really paying attention.

This Alliance partner advises and coaches CEOs and senior executives on their presentation skills.  He has worked with politicians and senior executives from such companies as ING, Rolls Royce, JP Morgan, Effem Inc. and Tim Horton’s.

This singular approach to speaking, in the context of interviews and small meetings – helps leaders discover how to be less self-conscious and more natural while communicating. The accepted wisdom is that to be an effective speaker you must be smooth and articulate. Our Partner believes that communicating well requires going beyond being polished, or what he refers to as the “pomposity of speaking. He helps people build on their unique personality to become more informal and relaxed.” He compares it to having a conversation with a few close friends, a situation where none of us worry about how we present ourselves.

Leaders must be prepared to communicate in a number of different ways, and this Alliance Partner has helped many excel in very difficult speaking situations. In 2006, this Alliance partner coached a client who went on to win a pitch for a $150 million contract. He helps leaders succeed by getting them to understand that it is a speaker’s responsibility to ensure that their listeners remember what they’ve heard. That may sound easy, but think about it for a minute. When you made your lastpresentation did you give your audience time to reflect? Did people come up to you afterward to talk to you? Are you sure you made an impression?

Helping Leaders Pitch their Companies to Investors

Some of the lessons from this session include:


  • Learning what you need to be an effective speaker.
  • How to make speaking look natural in front of large or small groups.
  • How to maintain control of pitches.
  • Recognizing those things that speakers are already doing right.
  • Eliminating the “pomposity of speaking” being too smooth and polished.
  • Understanding what listening skills really mean.


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