Courageous leaders have an organic skill that shines above all else…Presentation Skills. The ability to engage others through presentation skills exercised daily through one-on-one conversations, group interactions and conference calls is more than just “talk”. To present effortlessly increases credibility, confidence and commands attention.
A skilled leader with presentation ability is one who can discuss topics 24-7. This leader likely is a subject matter expert, can engage in controversial topics and maintain a sense of calm. Presentation skills are fluid and can be changed midstream to support questions being asked.
So what does a skilled, credible leader with strong presentation ability look like behaviorally? Listed below are a few examples to help you identify a polished presenter.
1- You can answer questions ad hoc, in meetings, hallways, during one-on-one discussions and are seen as a confident subject matter expert.
2- Peers, bosses and subordinates come to rely on you as a person with an opinion, courage and perspective. People want to be on your team, involved in your projects and be associated with you as a brand.
3- Clients seek your expertise because they trust your word and deed. Titles do not make leaders, rather presentation skills do! Have you ever worked with a boss who diverted answers, was passive-aggressive or never had a point-of-view? Likely, they were fear based and not self assured in having open honest dialogue. Leaders that lack this ability may answer questions with, “ah…um…” or respond by diverting the answer to speak from another persons point of view; “ah…um…the CEO wants XYZ to be done” instead of answering, “that is a good topic that you brought up. My experience leads me to the following conclusion.” Circular reasoning is not leadership nor should it be acceptable as a means of working through issues.
4- Presenting with courage eliminates ambiguity. Straightforward, logic based presentation of information gains team support. While there is merit in being able to navigate during ambiguous times, ambiguity as a baseline of presenting can lead to creating hostile work environment with low morale, decreased productivity and confusion.
5- Presenting with clarity produces a trail of documenting progress and creating historical data. By offering team members the opportunity to take notes in an open forum, you are providing engagement and interaction. Bosses who shy away from presenting are signaling inept skills, dysfunctional business dealings and shady practices.
Remember…titles do not define true leaders. Presentation skills do!