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Jwi 505 business communications and executive presence week

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JWI 505: Business Communications and Executive Presence
Week 8 Lecture Notes
© Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. Th...
daunting prospect. But the fact is, if you want to be a powerful
leader, expect to give plenty of
presentations. Giving gr...
JWI 505: Business Communications and Executive Presence
Week 8 Lecture Notes
© Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. Th...
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Jwi 505 business communications and executive presence week

  1. 1. JWI 505: Business Communications and Executive Presence Week 8 Lecture Notes © Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University. JWI 505 – Lecture Notes (1206) Page 1 of 8 Presentation and Delivery What It Means Over the past seven weeks, you have learned how to demonstrate your authenticity and presence in your communications. We examined how to build meaningful connections in one- on-one conversations. Then, we moved to bigger groups of listeners, including your team. It is now time to turn our attention to an even larger audience. You have likely heard that some people fear public speaking more than they fear death. Delivering a speech to a room full of people – many of whom you do not know – sounds like a
  2. 2. daunting prospect. But the fact is, if you want to be a powerful leader, expect to give plenty of presentations. Giving great presentations is not as difficult as you might think. All you have to do is communicate your message in a way that is accessible, engaging, and memorable. In this lecture, you will learn how to give presentations that listeners will remember. We will explore how to create visual aids that complement your message. We will also discuss techniques for conveying authority and presence at the fr ont of the room, as well as what to do before and after your presentation. Why It Matters • Presentations are powerful tools to share your ideas with large groups. • A high-impact presentation can galvanize your entire organization around an idea. • Delivering a captivating talk to a room full of people demonstrates your executive presence in a way no other communication can. “The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.” Lilly Walters
  3. 3. JWI 505: Business Communications and Executive Presence Week 8 Lecture Notes © Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University. JWI 505 – Lecture Notes (1206) Page 2 of 8 Facing Your Fear In fairness, being afraid of public speaking is not irrational. Even the most experienced speakers get nervous before talking in front of a large audience. In fact, it is believed that as much as 75% of people get anxious before giving a presentation.1 The source of your nerves is a matter of perspective. Perhaps you feel as if you do not have enough time to prepare a really great presentation, or that you do not know your content well enough. Maybe you think you cannot organize your thoughts in a way your listeners can follow easily. You could be presenting in a group, and you think your fellow presenters are way better than you. You might just be a naturally quiet person who gets anxious talking to people. Your
  4. 4. reasons may vary, but at the core of each of these feelings is the same fear: you think your listeners are judging you. You are worried that the audience – even the people you do not know – will think less of you if you do not impress them. That is not a pleasant thought, and it is one you need to rise above. Delivering a high-impact presentation is a great way to get noticed by your peers and leaders. And even if you are not addressing unfamiliar faces in a big auditorium, you give presentations all the time. A team huddle, a sales pitch, and even a board meeting entail you delivering a message to a group of people. Do you want to pass up an opportunity to share your message – or even land a job – just because you do not want to talk to people? If you want to communicate with confidence, you need to overcome your fear. To do that, you need to banish the thought that your listeners are judging you, even if they actually are. Everyone in the room is there to listen to you. You have a message that they need to hear; they want to learn from you. And nobody in the room wants you to fail. Your job, then, is not to give a speech. It is to teach your listeners. You will do that if you present your message in an understandable and exciting way. Before You Begin In Week 6 of our course, you learned that knowing your audience is one of the five factors of a
  5. 5. strong communication strategy. As Laura Brown tells us, you need to account for your 1 Rosemary Black, “Glossophobia (Fear of Public Speaking): Are You Glossophobic?” Psycom, September 12, 2019, https://www.psycom.net/glossophobia-fear-of-public-speaking. JWI 505: Business Communications and Executive Presence Week 8 Lecture Notes © Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University. JWI 505 – Lecture Notes (1206) Page 3 of 8 relationship with your listeners, what information they have to know, and what their attitudes are.2 This is harder to do when you have more listeners to address. So, when you are preparing your presentation, assess what you know about your audience. What do they already know about your topic? How do they prefer to receive information? How can you keep them engaged while you are talking? What will the audience contribute to your topic? What do you need from
  6. 6. them? The next issue to consider is the environme nt in which you are speaking. Are you presenting alongside other people? If so, each presenter needs to know who is addressing what topic. Each person should also know how much time they have to present. You never want to monopolize the presentation time, or give your co-presenters less time to deliver their messages. Speaking of time, how long do you have your audience? Knowing how much time you have will help you streamline and organize your content. Going beyond your time limit, especially if you are the only presenter, is an easy way to annoy your listeners. Another environmental factor to bear in mind is where you are presenting. What sort of materials will you need for your presentation? If you want to include PowerPoint slides, for example, you have to make sure the room has the tools you need. Illustrating Your Points There is a reason Jeff Bezos has outlawed PowerPoint slides from meetings at Amazon. You have likely sat through dozens of unengaging slide show presentations. There may have been too many slides, or maybe the slides contained too much illegible text. Worse, the presenter might have just read each slide aloud. Those speakers missed the whole point of presenting in the first place. As Jack once wrote, “Giving a speech is…about igniting stimulating conversations that go on long after you’re done talking.”3
  7. 7. Visual aids – whether they be slides, charts, videos, or maps – can be powerful tools for making your messages easy to understand. Your job is to make sure they are actually engaging. To begin, your visual aids must complement what you are saying, not replace it. The goal of your presentation is to deliver a message to a large group of people. The vast majority of that 2 Laura Brown, The Only Business Writing Book You’ll Ever Need (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2019), 22. 3 Jack Welch, “Giving a Presentation? Three Ways to Leave Your Fingerprint,” winning., February 23, 2016, https://jackwelch.strayer.edu/winning/three-rules-presentation/. JWI 505: Business Communications and Executive Presence Week 8 Lecture Notes © Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University. JWI 505 – Lecture Notes (1206) Page 4 of 8
  8. 8. message needs to come directly from you. Visual aids are there to illustrate your key points. Therefore, they should not contain too much information or text. If you are using slides from a program like PowerPoint or Keynote, you generally do not need more than twelve slides. If you include more than that, you risk losing track of your message. Resist the urge to write too much on your slides, and keep any charts or graphs as simple as you can. Audience members should not have to strain their eyes to see what you are showing them. And if you are using slides, do not just read from them. When that happens, either the slides are redundant or you are. Think of your visual aids as reinforcements of what you are saying. They are there to amplify your words. Instead of inserting massive blocks of text i nto your slides, use pictures or graphs. You can explain what the visual elements mean in your actual speech. For example, if you are comparing your organization’s performance to that of its competition, show the logos of your biggest competitors. Include a provocative statistic about each organization’s market performance. If you have to include text, use short bullet points. Just use them economically. Choose a simple font like Calibri or Arial, and avoid using only capital letters. If there are key details that are important to your presentation, consider creating a handout for your audience. Your visual aids can also be helpful for varying the pace of your presentation. If you show your listeners ten slides, and all of the slides look very simi lar, you will lose their attention quickly.
  9. 9. Design your visual aids to include some variety. For instance, if you have to show a series of slides with graphs, break them up intermittently with pictures or videos. If you can, find a way to include dialogue in your presentation, or even an activity. When you force your listeners to respond in different ways, you have a better chance of keeping their attention for the whole presentation. Commanding the Room As we discussed earlier in these notes, you have nothing to fear from your listeners. They are not judging you – they are in the room so they can learn from you. The audience wants you to succeed. So many speakers feel intimidated by their listeners, and it shows when they talk. They slouch and avoid making eye contact with their audience members. They fidget with their hands. They mumble and trail off at the ends of sentences, using phrases like, “so, yeah.” In effect, speakers who act this way are making themselves look and feel small. These actions do not just demonstrate nerves. They indicate a complete lack of executive presence. When speakers do that, they subliminally tell their listeners, “I do not want to be here right now.” JWI 505: Business Communications and Executive Presence Week 8 Lecture Notes
  10. 10. © Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University. JWI 505 – Lecture Notes (1206) Page 5 of 8 You do not want to disrespect your audience. You want to assure them that you know what you are talking about, and that they will benefit from hearing you speak. Respecting your abilities as a communicator, therefore, is synonymous with respecting your listeners. You respect your own abilities when you establish your authenticity, attentiveness, credibility, and confidence. Let us explore how to demonstrate these qualities. First, think about where you are physically when you begin presenting. Find a way to center yourself in relation to the audience. This ensures that everyone in the room can see you. If the space allows for it, you can walk around during the presentation. But begin each presentation in the center. Just remember that centering yourself to the audience does not always mean centering yourself to the room. Speaking of walking, resist the urge to pace a lot during your delivery. Too much movement makes you look frantic. As a general rule, you should walk when you are transitioning between
  11. 11. your main points. Moving to a different part of the room serves as a visual cue that you are segueing to a new point in your presentation. Remember, though, to keep talking while you walk. Shuffling silently to a different place looks awkward and forced. Think of “transition words” that can serve as cues for you to walk to a different spot. If you are speaking, and you begin a sentence with “additionally,” “furthermore,” or “not only,” for instance, those would be good opportunities to walk. Just make sure that, wherever you move to, the entire audience can still see you. On the subject of movement, most people do not pay much attention to their hands when they talk. If you are giving a presentation, however, your listeners’ eyes will follow your every move. If your hands are moving, the audience will look at every gesture. This is why you should not over- gesture during your talk, even if you are an extremely passionate presenter. Your hands serve the same purpose as visual aids; they can emphasize key phrases or points that you make. But, if you emphasize every single word of your presentation, your message will get lost quickly. If you are going to gesture, make sure your movements are visible. Avoid gesturing below your waist or above your shoulders. If you are not moving your hands, keep them in a neutral position, such as at your sides. Try not to clasp your hands in front of you – this makes you look unsure of yourself. You want to project confidence in every visual element of your presentation. However, your most important tool as a presenter is your voice.
  12. 12. Remember, you are delivering a message that you could not just write in an email. You are delivering this talk because you need to communicate with a large number of people, and you want to elicit an emotional reaction from them. Your listeners’ response will depend on what they perceive you are feeling. To get the JWI 505: Business Communications and Executive Presence Week 8 Lecture Notes © Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University. JWI 505 – Lecture Notes (1206) Page 6 of 8 response you need, think about how you want to express each of your thoughts. Too often, expressiveness in business gets equated with drama and unprofessionalism. But you do not need to be a flamboyant speaker. When you prepare your main talking points, ask yourself two questions about each point: • What do I want my listeners to feel about this point?
  13. 13. • How do I express that I feel the same way? If you are talking about something very serious and dire, you will convey the gravity of the issue. You will pause often, so that you and your listeners can think about what you are saying. You need to sound sober. But if you are talking about something exciting, you need to sound excited! You have to make your listeners feel motivated and appreciated. They will feel great if you show them that you feel great. Whatever your talking points are, you have to bring an emotional energy to the front of the room. Use your voice to demonstrate that you are excited, anxious, concerned, wistful, or even sad. There is nothing wrong with showing your emotions in front of your listeners. In fact, that is exactly what an empathetic and authentic person does. Just make sure you display your feelings appropriately. If you are too flamboyant, you will destroy your ethos. But if you do not show your feelings, or do not vary your feelings, you will commit one of the worst sins a speaker can commit: you will bore your listeners. Getting Ready You may not be delivering a theatrical performance when you speak. Regardless, you should always practice your presentation before you deliver it. You should be comfortable enough with your content that you do not even need notes. Go over your main points, and think about what you want your listeners to take from your presentation. Think of
  14. 14. one or two key words that summarize each point. This will help you determine what the crux of each point is – what you want your audience to think about. Try not to write out your speech word for word and memorize it. If you have a memory lapse, your confidence will be shattered. Wherever your presentation is, try to arrive well before any of your listeners do. You can use this time to ensure that you have all of the materials you need, and that any equipment you are using works. You can also get a sense of what adjustments you need to make to your delivery. Is it a big room? If so, you will have to project your emotions more strongly so that your listeners in the back can get the desired effect. How are the acoustics in the room? If you can hear your JWI 505: Business Communications and Executive Presence Week 8 Lecture Notes © Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University. JWI 505 – Lecture Notes (1206) Page 7 of 8
  15. 15. voice echoing, you will have to speak a little more slowly. If it is a conference room, will attendees be seated at the same table? If so, you do not need to walk too far when you transition between points. Your voice also needs to be well-prepared before you start talking. Drink water or tea to soothe your vocal chords. Practice some vocal warmups or tongue- twisters to loosen your facial muscles. And breathe slowly and deeply before you begin. This will help you relax and maintain the vocal energy you need. Wrapping Up Once you are done talking, you should feel quite relieved. You conveyed a message to a large group of appreciative people, and you spoke confidently and smoothly. But your presentation does not always end when your speech does. If your listeners are particularly engaged, they will have questions for you. In fact, they might have questions before or even during your presentation. You can ask your audience to hold their questions until you are done, but some audience members might push back. If someone asks a question, and you refuse to answer it, you may sacrifice all of the goodwill and empathy you have created with your audience. If you are interrupted with a question, do not get flustered. Make a mental note of where you are in the presentation. Then, answer your listener’s question as succinctly and honestly as you can.
  16. 16. If someone asks a question you cannot answer, there is nothing wrong with admitting you cannot answer it. Do not try to change the topic, do not act defensively, and definitely do not lie. A blatant lie or mistruth will destroy your credibility. Tell your questioner that you do not have an answer at the moment, but that you will find out the answer. Ask them for their contact information so that you can follow up with them after the presentation. Then, obviously, make sure you find the answer they need. Even when you make all of your key points and answer all of your audience’s questions, there is still a chance you do not fulfill your main goal. Imagine you are talking to people in a boardroom. You have a comprehensive presentation planned out; you need your listeners’ buy-in. About halfway through, some of your listeners are called away to another meeting. They have not yet told you whether you have their buy-in. If this happens, and you feel confident enough, ask for an answer from them. If they cannot give you one, ask what else you need to do for them to give you an answer. This will help you determine what follow - up work you need to complete. JWI 505: Business Communications and Executive Presence Week 8 Lecture Notes © Strayer University. All Rights Reserved. This document
  17. 17. contains Strayer University confidential and proprietary information and may not be copied, further distributed, or otherwise disclosed, in whole or in part, without the expressed written permission of Strayer University. JWI 505 – Lecture Notes (1206) Page 8 of 8 Finally, you will give many presentations as a leader. You should always be thinking of ways to grow as a presenter. Once the presentation is completely finished, ask your colleagues for feedback on your organization and delivery. If you tell them you want to improve your presentation skills, they will be willing to give you helpful, candid comments. This is also a great way to build interpersonal relationships with those colleagues. You show that you trust them and that you believe they want you to grow as a leader. Looking Ahead In this lecture, we explored what goes into a strong presentation. We discussed how to use visual aids to augment your content, as well as how to deliver your presentations in a professional and engaging manner. Most importantly, you learned why you have nothing to fear from speaking to large groups of people. Remember, every presentation is just a conversation. The only difference is the number of listeners. In the next lecture, we will examine how to communicate
  18. 18. through digital and social media. We will determine what goes into a strong digital engagement policy, what channels to use for your communications, and how to enhance your online presence.

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