Presenting or speaking to an audience regularly tops the list in surveys of peoples’ top fears – more than heights, flying or even dying! So, you are not alone if the thought of speaking in public scares you. On the contrary, almost everyone feels fearful of presenting and public speaking to one degree or another.

Leaders are regularly required to give presentations and speak at events. Indeed, inspiring the troops, presenting their vision and being the front figure for the organisation are key parts of a leader’s role.

Can you recall events where you observed an otherwise confident, competent leader step up to a podium and then proceed to give a presentation where they

  1. Read up from a prepared sheet in a monotone voice, occasionally looking up, but losing the audience’s attention rapidly (and few can recall anything that they said)
  2. Try to recall their speech word by word, so it comes across as an exercise in recalling every word, rather than engaging with an audience
  3. Focus on presenting data, rather than making the data tell stories and come alive for the audience
  4. Present too much, which results in information overload, and the speaker rushing to get through all the slides
  5. Are too safe and predictable, coming across as boring
  6. Speak with low energy, in effect draining the room for energy, on what should otherwise have been a rousing and inspiring day
  7. Come across as too formal and “stiff” – appearing to be taking on another persona?
  8. Clearly want to get it over with quickly (and so do you!) – so they rush it
  9. Haven’t prepared enough or practised enough, so it comes across as sloppy
  10. Are handling questions defensively or aggressively as they feel on pressure and exposed in front of the audience

The result is that often the speeches and presentations become the low-point of the event rather than the highlight.

Get challenge and expert input

Rhodes can provide executive coaches who regularly help senior executives prepare for speaking at important events, be it large employee events, shareholder meetings, customer presentations or conferences.

It is rarely the leader’s knowledge about the subject matter that is the issue. No, the key areas we typically help with include:

  • Bringing clarity to what the speaker wants to achieve with the speech and what they want the audience to remember, feel and do on the back of the speech
  • Distilling and reducing the content down to the few key messages that really matters
  • Preparing how to get the audience engaged and ‘buying into’ the message
  • Critiquing the content, not because we know the subject matter better, but often because we don’t and have the courage to ask “What do you mean by …?” or “What makes that important to the audience?”
  • Rehearsing, giving feedback and refining content and delivery
  • Help the speaker manage their fears and self-doubts

Making it look effortless

Some speakers make it look effortless, but don’t be fooled, they will often have spent days or weeks preparing, rehearsing and fine tuning.

Big corporate events are usually large investments, both in money and time. Getting professional help to prepare the leaders so they can deliver their speeches and presentations with confidence and high impact is a comparatively small investment, but can turn the dreaded speeches into the highlight of the event for both the speaker and the audience.

Rhodes can also provide a wide variety of “Key Note” speakers for your corporate event.