“Communication is the engine that drives your business success”

                                                                                 - Roberta Prescott





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Executive Presence



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Seated Presentations To Time-Starved Executives
by Roberta Prescott

THE CHALLENGE: Can you get your message across past impatience and distractions?

THE SOLUTION: Make use of these tips:

  • Be ready
  • Control Your Body Language and Voice
  • Rehearse


For your agenda to be hijacked

The Challenge: It will be rare to get through your entire presentation. Many Senior Managers go off topic quickly. Your time can be cut at will / you’ll probably begin later than you were told.

The Solutions:

  • If asked for a ten-minute presentation prepare seven.
  • Set your agenda quickly up front.
  • Learn how to cut your presentation on the fly.
  • Color code your notes for levels of importance – key points that must be delivered in one color,  secondary and throwaway points in other colors.

For rude behavior

The Challenge: Participants using laptops to check e-mail, talking on cell phones, bringing work to do, having side conversations. Decision-maker leaves.

The Solutions:

  • Be analytical. Ask yourself Is the behavior a lack of meeting etiquette? Or is the audience giving you a message that you are terminally boring? Or is the timing bad – you’re up last, and they’re up against a deadline.
  • Test it by changing your timing or your voice, or  engaging these individuals in interaction.
  • Use a graceful disengagement to reschedule.  e.g. “Let’s allow time to digest, and then reconvene.”



The Challenge: Eye Contact is important..

The Solutions:

  • Use your eye contact as an opportunity to gauge reactions and interest. e.g.,
    • Excess flipping through your handout as an early warning system.
    • Do look at the decision-maker, but not ALL of the time.
    • Memorize your first 30 seconds so that you can have immediate eye contact.


The Challenge: The way you’re viewed when seated often speaks louder than your words.

The Solutions:

  • Use a forward balanced position with both feet flat on the ground, bearing some of your  weight – this moves your body and energy forward. Test it. Cross your legs and observe your weight shifting backward in the chair.
  • Maintain good posture, alertly tall, but not stiff.
  • Observe the body language of television anchors.


The Challenge: Gestures, or the lack of them, can be self-defeating.

The Solutions:

  • Use only a few well-chosen gestures. Keep  them small if you don’t want to spill your coffee  or water all over that nice wooden table.
  • If you want to become a conductor take a music course. Otherwise lose that pen. People will  focus on it instead of you.
  • Own your space – no hands in your lap and shoulders hunched forward.
  • Mannerisms indicate tension. Avoid playing with glasses, clicking your pen, swinging in your chair or over handling your notes.


The Challenge: Your voice counts for 38% of your message

The Solutions:

  • Don’t forget to breathe. Oxygen fuels your  voice.
  • Slow down. Plan pauses for timing / to breathe /  to think.
  • To avoid a monotone emphasize key words  vocally. Don’t rely on a prepared text.
  • Be careful of vocal mannerisms – “um”, “you know”,  “okay”, basically”, etc. Instead, put your lips together, pause and breathe in through  your nose.


The Challenge: “Winging It” doesn’t work.

The Solutions:

  • Rehearsing builds confidence so you can think quickly on your feet.
  • Note: Your rehearsal will run 20% faster than your presentation. Plan for it. Here’s what to practice:
  • Your opening so your eyes are not in your notes.
    • Your outline / sequence of ideas.
    • Your transitions.
    • The rough spots.

© The Prescott Group


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