In the last 3 years, C-Suite Leaders have been under more pressure than ever. With the constant changes in how people work, including working from home, keeping people engaged at work means building trust and connection with them. In fact, according to Forbes Magazine, at any one time, 70% of people are disengaged at work.
Combined with the overwhelm of information and misinformation, business leaders have the constant challenge of redirecting the narrative. For community leaders and politicians, trust has eroded since 2020. In fact, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer, in some countries, CEO credibility and trust is at an all-time low, including Japan (18 per cent) and France (22 per cent), making the challenge for CEO leaders even more acute as they try to address today’s problems.
As a result, teams, organisations and communities are looking for leaders to lead the way. With around 75% of people having “glossophobia”, a fear of public speaking, one of the biggest challenges for those leaders is to have the confidence to do this publicly and communicate with excellence.
Level 1; Collapser: When a collapser speaks, they tend to allow their words to trail off and not finish sentences. Their voice loses its volume and pitch and often lose making their point. As a result, their audience loses connection and confidence in them as they often have to pick up the rest of the conversation. Most collapser’s aren’t aware that this is what is holding their communication back, and their confidence is deteriorating, so it’s about making them aware that this is happening and making a decision if they want it to change.
Level 2; Struggler: The struggler will often keep their volume and pitch low in their voice. They’re often afraid of saying the wrong thing and hoping that if they speak quietly enough, no one will notice. The irony is that it stands out more than ever for the wrong reasons. Once they have the right advice and steps in place, the next focus for them is to practice.
Level 3: Amateur: The amateur often has some variety in their ability to perform but aren’t using their body and voice intentionally or in a way that aligns with their message and audience. The next focus for them is to have pressure applied to them so they have the opportunity to use the skills in different contexts and so they can see the impact of their mind, body and voice on the audience and get their message through. The key insight for the amateur is that they don’t know what they don’t know. They think they’re good, but they still have some way to go.
Level 4: Intern: The intern often has the ability to use a broad range of skills to get their message across, but they haven’t had enough experience to use it all to improve. Their eyes are wider open; they’re like sponges and very keen to learn. At this level, it is about observing the master, operating from high to low pressure to see them in action and applying in practice themselves. Once they have achieved this level of skill, they are about 80% of the way on their journey to increasing their confidence.
Level 5: Professional: The professional is typically well versed in the skills to grow their confidence. They’re getting away with it every time, but they actually feel not as confident as they could. The only issue for them is that some situations can cause them to lose their self-belief, but the audience won’t know. They might be listening to the wrong people or beating themselves up a little too much when they are in face really effective communicators. At this level of their journey, they are at around 90% of the level of confidence. They just need reassurance that they’re on the right track. Things like going red, legs shaking and pitch variations and other irrelevant things may be putting them off, but in fact, the audience isn’t noticing them at all.
Level 6: Master: The master is focused on being exceptional. They know that you never achieve perfection but they can keep learning to help them stay sharp and focus on continuous improvement to be the best communicator they can. They surround themselves with masters of their craft, thrive on the challenge of communicating well and will even begin teaching other leaders to be more effective in their communication. Ah, Grasshopper!
Body: While most think the voice drives what we say, it’s actually our body that has the greatest influence, first and foremost. Our body is driven by our emotions which are driven by our thinking. Once the body is clear on its job, the rest becomes easier!
Voice: Our voice’s range, tone, pitch and volume can tell an audience so many things that can either enforce or deplete a message. Identifying the right voice for your communication can completely change the audience’s perspective of you and your message.
Structure: Whilst it might look like the best speakers wing it, they actually don’t. They have a process and plan that serves them no matter whether they have seconds, minutes, hours, days or years to prepare for their presentation. The more structured they have, the more confidence they exude.
The great news is that once these three are in place, every leader has the ability to have greater presence, they are actually heard, and they garner greater attention. The more these are in place, the more confidence a leader has.
A rare breed is one of Australia’s ‘Keynote Speakers of Excellence’, Louise is recognised as a Top 30 Global Guru in both Body Language and Communication. She has been awarded Internationally for her contribution to Women in Business. In demand for Adobe in the United States, India and the South Pacific, she has travelled with Gartner to the USA and Europe and is a repeat guest for the elite Million Dollar Round Table in Los Angeles and keynote for the Million Dollar Top Tables in Texas.
Rarely does one find academic insight, observational excellence and a dynamic delivery to shed light on a topic that is critical to us all – ourselves! A foremost expert in body language, voice and human behaviour, Louise has a PhD in Business and degrees and Masters in Organisational Psychology as well as Music that led to the University’s top award for Innovation in Research.
Her skills as a Master Practitioner in Neuro-Linguistic Programming pull together her academic study and a decade of professional performance on the European opera stage to put her in a league of her own. These blended skills bring powerful observation that elicits discernible, positive change to handle presentations, conquer media and glide through high-stake engagements with poise and ease. Her techniques will help you build confidence, instil trust and create influence by ‘being heard’ in every environment you face.
Louise is a regular contributor to print, radio and television media, appearing as a regular on Channel 7 and lauded for her expertise and humour. She is ‘on-call’ for Global CEOs coaching and keynotes, and you can find her book ‘Resonate’ published by Penguin/Random House.