11 November 2014 0 Comments

Leadership Part 13

11-11-14 LII Blog FBA discussion about speaking and writing skills wraps up the importance of People Skills for the leader.Speaking

Not all leaders are good speakers, but being a good speaker—at least one who does not cause the audience to squirm after five minutes—gives the leader a real leg up.

Some speakers are best with a prepared presentation.  Others are best at extemporaneous expression.  In either event good speakers have two qualities that place them into that category:  they are organized and they are passionate.

Speakers who are well organized in their presentation often use a technique:

1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them.

2. Tell it to them.

3. Tell them what you told them.

“I believe the elements we need to cover are A, B and C.

“Here’s what I mean by A, B and C…

“Before leaving the subject let’s review the important aspects of what we have covered…..”

If speakers follow this format in an extemporaneous presentation, it forces them to organize the subject in their own mind before proceeding and to punctuate the most important elements in the conclusion.

The passion element required from a great speaker cannot be so easily taught.  Passion is internal.  Its how you feel.  The key is for speakers to be able to communicate the passion that is within them.  And if it’s not in them, then they must learn how to generate it.  Not every subject will elicit passion.  A budget report seldom contains passion—unless the profits or losses are far off of the anticipated numbers.  Then it can become very passionate!

Passion is how you feel about a given topic.  It is shown in voice tones, the look in your eyes, hand and body movement and emphasis.  Speakers who are passionate by nature have an easier time at this than those who are not.  But, even a pause can be as effective as a cheer in denoting passion.

Before leaving the subject of speaking, a word about the use of power point visuals in presentations.  Any use of projected images should only be used to enhance what is being said, not simply restate what is being said.  Pictures, photos, cartoons and graphs are often best presented in this format.  However, long columns of numbers too minute to be seen from even the second row of seats and long paragraphs of prose merely regurgitating what the speaker is saying should be avoided.  If the material projected comes across as a crutch required by the speaker rather than an organizational aid for the benefit of the audience, it’s off the mark.


Business writing is different than creative writing or, for that matter, from journalistic writing. Succinctness is king in business communiqués.

Fewer words…shorter sentences are better.  Getting to the point is crucial.  This does not preclude building toward a point, but each sentence used in that build must cause the reader to want to read the next sentence.  Each sentence must reveal more of the writer’s ultimate intent.  The worst letter or e-mail is a lengthy dissertation that you read once, skim a second time, scratch your head and say, “What the hell was that all about?”

The computer and the use of Word have made us all better business writers.  In addition to spell and grammar checks we now have the opportunity to edit and re-edit, eliminating redundancies, shortening sentences…respecting the time of the recipient…being more effective.  If you still need help, have someone else edit your work and don’t take offense when they start lopping off words.

People skills involve all interactions with others.  The leader possessing   these skills who is self assured and projecting a presence is now ready for the next step—focus.

And that’s where we go next…the importance of Focus for the Leader.

Leave a Reply