Communication & Leadership

with Peggy Klaus

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Effective presentations take preparation and practice.

Peggy Klaus

Communications & Leadership Guru

Lessons Learned

Good communication does not happen on its own

You present to the world through your communication.

Most communication is nonverbal.


Lesson: Communication & Leadership with Peggy Klaus

Step #10 Presentation: Effective presentations take preparation and practice

Good communication doesn't happen on its own. There needs to be preparation and practice. These are two things that business professionals don't do enough. I think it's because they have this idea that since they've been talking since they were 14 months old, that everything that comes out of their mouth is gold. As we know, it's not true. So they really miss the opportunity to be as dynamic and as impactful as they need to be. One of the things is preparation.

I have a template called "Setting the Stage", to get people to prepare for their communication. I don't care whether it is a conversation one-to-one or if you are having an internal meeting with 5 or 50 or you are giving a talk at Moscone Center in front of 10,000 people.

The first thing it starts with is, what are the goals, needs and objectives of your audience? In short, why are they putting their butts in those seats to listen to you? Then I have my clients tune into my radio station, WIFT FM. What's In It For Them. To get really clear about why that audience is there.

Then they look at the emotional temperature of the audience – what are the thoughts and the feelings that are in that room when you're speaking? Then what is their own emotional temperature? How are they feeling about it? Then we figure out where they are aligned and where they're not, and we go into, what's the point of you speaking? What is it that is essential that they get? If you had one minute before the roof caved in, what must your audience know?

Then developing the conversation from there, going on and saying, "Okay, what are the real zingers that you could get in that conversation?" What would be really difficult to answer? What would, perhaps, cause you a lot of discomfort? Questions about the firm, about you, about your vision, about your stock prices – whatever that is and you should be able to talk about that as though you are sitting across from me at a café, spontaneously, conversationally, fluidly, using anecdotes, statistics, stories, humor, eye contact, vocal variation, the whole gamut of good communication.

How you are presented to the world is through your communication. There is such importance placed on how it is that you are heard and how you are seen. There's a wonderful study that was put out by Professor Mehrabian at UCLA on what an audience takes away from their speaker.

What they found is that 55 percent of what the audience takes is physical. So, that is facial animation, smile, posture, gesticulation, body language, hair, makeup, wardrobe. Thirty eight percent is vocal-tone, pause, pitch, speed and volume. Seven percent is left and that is the facts, the substance.

Yet, most business professionals, I find, are very left-brained. So they just think, "Well, if I just tell them the facts, they are going to follow me to the end of the Earth," when in fact the inverse is true. I'm not saying that facts aren't important and substance is not. Absolutely it's important. But it is that marriage of style and substance, of bringing your best self to whatever stage you're on, marrying the technical expertise with the soft skills.

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