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The Leadership Effect: Four Pillars of PlusOne Presentations

BY MARK W. HARDWICK, PhD.

How many presentations and lectures have you heard? Probably in the thousands.  Of these presentations how many presenters had the “wow” factor or were truly outstanding?  I’ve asked my students and seminar audiences this question for many years.  Their answer is that you can count them on one hand.  The critical question becomes—What makes these speakers outstanding?

  • They have executive presence—firm hand shake, good eye contact, dress, smile, sense of humor and put off a positive and natural energy
  • They are approachable, confident, credible, inspirational, and connect in unique ways
  • They deliver a clear, concise, compelling, relevant, and believable message
  • Their message is memorable and retained

According to a survey by Wallace and Wallechinsky, public speaking is rated the number one fear of 41% of the population, ahead of death, nuclear war, the dentist, and bankruptcy. We will help you challenge your fears, provide support, and reinforce your natural strengths of self-expression.

We want you to consider how your thoughts, mental frameworks, and assumptions effect what message is presented and how it is received.

We want you to learn how to align your message, mental attitude, and mechanics, so as not just survive a presentation, but to create an environment that is meaningful, inspirational, persuasive, and compelling for listeners in addition to being a satisfying experience for you.  Our goal is to create a learning environment that facilitates the growth and development of presenters by increasing their ability to be confident performers.

We know that future behavior can be improved with openness for change, an acceptance of feedback, and a plan to overcome bad habits. We help you to identify your strengths by understanding how to align the message, mechanics, and mental game for speaking.

If our tools and techniques are used it will be easier for you to develop new habits by focusing on the identification of strengths and areas in need of improvement.  If we succeed in helping you to develop and communicate the essence of your message and increase your comfort and impact on others we will succeed in our goal as performance coaches.

The “big idea” we are talking about when looking at the way we communicate and interact is leadership.  Leaders lead with their ideas, words, and presence. The way people speak and deliver words of praise or criticism reveals their values, beliefs and philosophy of life. It is the essence of leadership.  This is what we call the “leadership effect”.  The “leadership effect” holds that leaders will be judged by the realism, authenticity, and relevance of their communications not by their position or place on the organization chart.

Like it or not, our self awareness, mental presence, confidence (mental state), eloquent mechanics (voice, gestures, movement, body language, eye contact), and messages (verbal impact) determine how we are received and perceived by others. Leaders influence action through the art and mastery of thinking and speaking straight and naturally.

The Four Pillars of PlusOne Extraordinary Presentations

I. Mechanics

II. Mental

III. Message

IV. Memory

What eloquent techniques and style is appropriate for this setting and audience? Focus is on presence and confidence

What confidence and passion need to be portrayed to connect with the audience? Focus is on inspiration.

Always chose a significant overriding objective (SOO) that best serves the setting and purpose for the presentation. Not more than the magic #7 ideas plus or minus two

Use memory techniques to enhance retention of your message Such as primacy, recency and repetition

PlusOne PerformanceTips for Extraordinary Presentations

  1. Analyze and know your audience.  Gather information on the needs and expectations of your listeners; so as to make your presentation interesting and appealing to them.  What are their expectations?  What are their attitudes toward you, your team, or your topic?
  1. Keep your Significant Overriding Objective (SOO) clearly in mind.  Is your goal to inform and present information or to persuade a committee or person to adopt and support your proposal?
  1. Formula for success –Magic # 7 
  • Determine 3-5 chunks of information for each sub-presentation objective
  • Identify what needs to be presented to make objectives believable and compelling
  • Organize material and pick your team’s preferred style for presentation, (one/two people, whole team with different sections, present from behind lectern or seated at round table, etc.)
  1. Get to the point.  What are the key points you will make?  How do you want to say them?  What graphics will be used i.e., flip charts, PowerPoint, or a combination?  Keep visual aids simple and to the point.  Do you have any written material, handouts or tangibles to show audience?
  1. Support major points with solid evidence.   Use examples, facts, and stories.
  1. Organize and inform in a logical structure.  State the problem, then your solution.  Weigh the pros and cons of your proposal.  Go from general to specific.  Build from simple ideas to complex ones.
  1. Make you message clear, compelling, and consistent with the facts.
  1. Avoid presenting too much information or "hop scotching" around from topic to topic.  Speaking from notes or a key point outline makes the presentation smoother and more natural.
  1. Sustain comfortable eye contact with the audience members.  Use the “one thought –one person” technique.  Use natural gestures to emphasize key points.  Monitor gestures such as maintaining good posture when speaking.  Remove all keys and other materials from pockets. Lean forward while speaking.
  1. Speak so others can hear you.  Convey confidence, conviction, enthusiasm, and interest in your voice.  Vary your pitch, volume and rate of speaking.
  1. Prepare for Q/A sessions.  Practice the desired behavior and skills so that your speaking style mirrors your strengths and is experienced as authentic.