Two warning signs that executives need help with their public speaking, communication and presentation skills

I work with many senior executives from CEOs and CFOs to Presidents and Country Managers. Many of these executives are from technical disciplines like finance, engineering and IT. Regardless of their culture or language,they often share some bad habits which I suspect is a result of what it takes to be successful in their technical roles. Firstly, they know too much so they say too much. A presentation of 20-30 minutes is not the time to download your complete knowledge on the audience or to bamboozle them with a stream of facts and figures that are not put in a clear context. These executives are too process and detail-oriented when it comes to delivering a high level executive presentation or conversation.

Secondly, if you believe that a successful leader is an accomplished communicator, do you agree that a business presenter who stands and reads word-for-word from the slides is reducing their credibility as a leader? You wouldn’t turn your back on someone when you are having a one-on-one conversation and expect them to think you are sane. So why do so many business presenters think it’s okay to turn their backs to an important audience?The audience can read faster than you can narrate the words on the slide, so what value are you adding? Many senior executives are painfully unaware about how they are coming across and – clearly – do not know how to rehearsal productively for important speeches and presentations.

These two symptoms are often a sign of deeper communication issues. I suspect – from working with many executives around China and Asia – that these are warning signs like a beacon being lit into a dark night. When I see these behaviours I start to notice other communication issues holding these executives back.

I help technical executives to overcome these types of problems that are holding them back from being more influential and effective. In fact, with some pointed advice and application of a few simple techniques these executives- who are generally very smart and very competent in their field – are able to sharpen up their spoken communication and come across as more engaging and – importantly – to speak with a message. They have a point to what they are saying and they are able to make it more persuasively. And let’s face it, if you are a senior executive in a multinational company in a complex market like China, communication is your job. I help executives acquire the skills so that more effective communication becomes a learned skill – they don’t need to think about it too much – so they can get on with their real job of leading their company through change.

If you have an executive who is important to the success of your organisation and they could do with a boost in confidence, self awareness and polish in their communication and public speaking ability, why not give us a call? We can assess the situation and if we feel we are not the right solution, we’ll let you know. We have a very clear idea of the type of clients we can help. And we only want to do our best work with all our clients.

Warwick John Fahy is author of The One Minute Presenter: 8 steps to successful business presentations in a short attention span world. Read Warwick’s blog and download an e-version of The One Minute Presenter at

Warwick is Asia’s leading business presentation coach working with business leaders who need to influence clients, investors, shareholders and team members. His results-driven approach and deep cross cultural understanding make him a sought after business presentation coach throughout Asia. Download a free report “10 Warning Signs Your Leaders Lack Executive Presence” at

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