Course Highlights

This presentation skills course for executives will:

  • Discuss executive presence and what it takes to appear “in charge” at the podium.
  • Help participants analyze an audience and determine where they should meet it.
  • Share several frameworks for crafting a moving narrative.
  • Suggest strategies for anticipating questions.
  • Explain rhetorical devices and the advantages of incorporating them into a speech.
  • Offer a method for creating and delivering impromptu messages.

Course Overview

Most executives know how to stand up in front of people and competently deliver a message. They most likely wouldn’t be at the top of their organizations if they didn’t. However, the distance between “competent” and “compelling” is often wide, and the path between the two is elusive. This speaking course for senior executives offers information and skills practice to bridge the gap.

Note: This is not an introductory program, and those who attend should have a firm grasp of basic platform skills.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Isolate a key theme and plot a narrative.
  • Deliver a credible and compelling speech.
  • Adjust a message to satisfy fans, critics, uninformed onlookers, and apathetic listeners.
  • Use several presentation structures.
  • Apply a range of rhetorical devices.
  • Choreograph a message.
  • Exude passion and poise at the podium.

Workshop Outline

Look, Act, and Sound the Part: Executive Presence at the Podium

This course begins with a discussion about credibility and professional presence. We will review videos of several well-known speakers and identify the positive characteristics they share and any distracting or negative behaviors. Next, we will discuss the extent to which stage presence and various choices influence credibility at the podium.

Where Are You?: Identifying a Starting Point

Whether you’re at square one or already speaking like a pro, it’s helpful to know where you are in order to plan a course of improvement. During this part of the workshop, participants will deliver a speech and evaluate peer presentations. They will grade and be graded on eight distinct competencies. Following this activity, we will identify focus areas for the rest of the session.

Winning Minds and Hearts: Understanding Audience Demands

Just as addressing a hostile crowd differs from speaking to a sea of apathetic faces, talking to an uninformed audience is nothing like sharing information with rows of smiling people who nod in agreement with everything you say. When it comes to most presentations, “one size” rarely fits all. For that reason, audience analysis is an important element of any presentation and a critical one when the stakes are high. This program segment explores four distinct groups, how to identify them, and what each needs from a speaker. As part of the skill-application process, during this part of the course, participants will work in teams to adjust the same message to a range of audiences.

Structuring a Speech: Making Choices

It’s easiest to build a great presentation when you have a blueprint from which to work. This course segment examines proven speech structures: problem-solution, hero’s journey, chronological path, acronym explained, and other frameworks for making a case. Once they understand the available options, participants will choose three structures to which they will apply the same message.

Sententia Anyone?: Understanding and Leveraging Rhetorical Devices

When used correctly, rhetorical devices can have both emotional and logical appeal. In other words, they can act like a “secret sauce” if a speaker knows how to use them. In this part of the program, we will examine various rhetorical devices and what to do with them to enhance a message. Participants will then practice using a few of their choice.

Microwaving Messages: Speaking on the Fly

While it’s not always ideal to have to speak off the cuff, it’s an important skill to master. During this final segment, we will talk about structuring and delivering information when there is little time for preparation. Participants will receive a topic and a set amount of time to plan. They will then apply what they’ve learned from the day as they present to the rest of the class.

By the conclusion of this program, participants should have a clear idea of what it takes to present as a senior leader. They will understand how to address the needs of different audiences, choose a presentation’s structure, employ rhetorical devices, and organize a talk with little time to prepare.