Tag Archive for 'Resources'

Article on How to stand out: Make your speech memorable and connect with your audience.

This article was recently published in The Toastmaster – an international magazine dedicated to leadership and public speaking and read by 270,000 people worldwide.

Download this article in PDF here. (833kb).

Find a Toastmasters club near you here.

A gift to you to start the Year of the Dragon: ‘Riding the Waves’ – exciting new e-book available for download

39 business experts, speakers, trainers and consultants share words of wisdom and tips in the following 8 categories:

Chapter 1: Never Ending Change

Chapter 2: The Power in You

Chapter 3: Leading v Managing

Chapter 4: People Power

Chapter 5: Customers ARE Your Business

Chapter 6: How to Increase Sales

Chapter 7: The Incredible Power of the Web

Chapter 8: The Future is Coming Ready or Not

You can download your complimentary copy in PDF here. (2.72MB)

About the Author

Warwick J Fahy

Warwick helps C-level executives, working in multinational companies based in Greater China, who struggle to get their point across and influence their key stakeholders. Warwick helps the executive project their message with confidence allowing them to express their opinions powerfully and gain respect from senior managers even when under pressure.Learn more about who Warwick helps here.

Warwick is the author of “The One Minute Presenter: 8 steps to successful business presentations in a short attention span world”.

Now available on Amazon.com.

Sign up to “52 Tips to more confident public speaking” newsletter at www.warwickjohnfahy.com

Executive Presence for Senior Finance Executives: Five Formats to handle difficult questions

Handling questions in meetings and conference calls can be a challenge. Not only do you need to think quickly, but you also are expected to deliver a concise and clear answer. Many senior executives, despite frequent calls, still struggle with this aspect of executive speaking. This article will focus on giving you five approaches in how to address questions in conference calls. Conference calls are especially challenging as the lack of visual cues makes it harder to read the intention of the other party. We will provide sample answers using each of the five formats.

Challenges with communicating via conference call

  • Often held at unsociable hours

  • No visual cues

  • More interference [bad lines,multi-tasking like checking emails]

  • Harder to follow what each party is saying unless set-up and cues are used

  • Conversations can side-track and run over-time

  • One party talks for too long and loses interest of other parties or the other party cannot follow their answer

  • It’s harder to address complex issues unless checking techniques are used

  • Two skills to master; Voice to project confidence, Structure for clarity.

Answering a question: The opening

  • Use a set up to prepare the content (movie trailer versus the movie)

  • Be precise

  • Take a stand ie two points or three points

  • Pause before you answer [rather than saying ‘well, errr’]

  • Use vocal energy [emphasis, volume changes] to project your credibility

  • The opening should be short and concise

Five Types of Answering formats

  • Use a variety of formats in any one conference call

  • If you are not sure how many points to include in your answer, aim low; start with one or two points. Then check with the questioner if they would like to explore the issue in other ways.

Format ONE: The set up

  • Signals to the questioner what’s coming next [like a TV announcement]

  • Respond to the question [eg “That’s a good question”; “The rule is quite new and it is also complicated”]

  • Pause

  • Then overview the points you will cover in your answer

Sample replies

  • The rule is quite new and it is also complicated. There are two main changes. Change one and change two. Let’s start with change one.

The new regulation covers three areas: A, B and C. I will cover each of these areas in more detail now.

Format TWO: Paraphrase the question

  • Restate the question to check your understanding

  • Interpret what you believe the questioner wants to know

  • Do the thinking for the questioner

  • Don’t answer the question until you have clarified

  • Gives you some thinking time

  • Leads to better quality answers

Sample replies

  • As I understand your question, what you would like to know is: what is the major impact of this new regulation?

  • As I hear your question, what you would like to know is whether the impact of the new regulation will affect our business units. Is that correct?

  • If I understand you correctly, you are interested in [topic one]. Could I just check whether you would like to know about X or Y first?

Format THREE: Scope is too broad

  • When the question is too broad, check.

  • Don’t guess. Ask to clarify.

  • Ask a checking question

  • Give options to the questioner

  • Don’t ask the question to do ‘more work’

Sample replies

  • That’s a good question. It’s very broad and complex. Could I ask which aspect you are interested in?

  • That’s a good question. It’s very broad and complex. Should I start with A or B?

  • Two issues come immediately to mind. Issue 1 and Issue 2. Where one would you like to explore first?

  • This is a little broad in nature. It would be helpful if we could be more specific. Should we start with X, Y or Z?

  • This question is a little bit broad, could you be more specific?

Format FOUR: Clarify the question

  • When you are uncertain which aspect the questioner is interested in

  • Complex topics that would take a long time to talk about

  • Giving yourself some thinking time

  • Enables more of a conversational style to emerge in the Q&A

Sample replies

  • I could answer this question in two ways. From perspective A, or perspective B. Which aspect would you like me to focus on first?

  • Good question. Are you most interested in A or B or C?

Format FIVE: Too much information? Slice the melon!

  • When you have a lot of content you could use in your answer [the large watermelon]

  • Slice your information into sections [slices of the melon]

  • Overview the content in bullet points first

  • Then check which area the questioner would like to address first

  • Then focus into and drill down in that area

  • After you have covered each area, check back to see how the questioner would like to proceed

Sample replies

  • This is a complicated area. The main challenges to consider are 1,2,3, and 4. Which issue would you like to start with?

  • This is a very complicated question. The regulations are new and involve a lot of details. We have investigated the implication with our auditors and have identified six areas that we should address. In brief they are 1,2,3,4,5 and 6. Which one is most important to you right now?

  • We have analyzed this problem over the past two months and four areas need to be considered. I would like to briefly overview each area and then perhaps you could tell me which one is most urgent for you right now. We could then drill down into that one first.

How does checking affect your credibility?

  • It enhances it! Precise communication is always appreciated

  • Mix up your language patterns so that you do not repeat the same phrases.


  • Could I check my understanding?

  • That’s interesting, let me see if I understand your question.

  • Let me see if I got your point

  • Good question. The focus is a little bit broad. Where are you going with this? What would you like me to address first?

  • To answer that question in full, I could speak for 30 minutes. Could you help me understand where I should start?


While conference calls, meetings and aggressive questioners will always be a fact of life for many senior business executives, using these five formats will give you the confidence that you can better engage, interact and connect with even the most challenging of question.

About the Author

Warwick J Fahy

Warwick is passionate about helping executives, working in multinational companies based in Greater China, speak out with executive presence so they can think, speak and act like a leader. I help executives turn the complex into compellingly simple message that are understood, passed on and acted on.”

Learn more about who I help here.

Download the Speak like an Executive Executive Communication White Paper here (PDF, 237kb)

Warwick is the author of “The One Minute Presenter: 8 steps to successful business presentations in a short attention span world”.  Now available on Amazon.com.

New: Read “The One Minute Presenter” as an e-book. Available in all maor e-book formats here.

Sign up to “52 Tips to more confident public speaking” newsletter at www.warwickjohnfahy.com

Getting more from your iPad in business presentations and meetings

With more and more people using iPads as a business presentation tool, you need to stay on top of the latest tools to get the most from your iPad. Here is a good article called

“11 iPad Apps For Meetings And Presentations” by Sharlyn Lauby

Remember that every piece of technology you use in a presentation is only a prop to help you deliver a clear message that is aligned with your presentation’s purpose. Start with your message, then think about how these apps can help you deliver on that message.

If you need help then visit this page to learn more about how I help senior executives speak out with more executive presence.

Seven lessons every great speaker needs to know

Successful business executive - business peopl...

As we approach the end of the year, I would like to share seven of our most popular lessons on becoming a great business presenter.  Feel free to forward this article or bookmark it as there are some practical tips that you need to know.

Here are the seven articles:

Are your presentations interactive enough?

Executive Presence for CFOs in China Part 1 of 3 : Executive Credibility

Executive Presence: Memorize your content with taglines

Ever feel like you are presenting to goldfish and puppies?

Rapport Tip: The eyes have it! Keep your audience’s attention with your eyes!

Theater Rehearsals: What Executive Presenters Must Know Part 1 of 5: Script Read Through

iPad product launch: What Makes Steve Jobs a Great Presenter?

About the Author

Warwick J Fahy

“I work with high-potential senior executives who need to be more confident and influential with their key stakeholders. I help the executive quickly and powerfully express their opinions into message based presentations – even when under pressure.”  Learn more about who I help here.

Warwick is the author of “The One Minute Presenter: 8 steps to successful business presentations in a short attention span world”.

Now available on Amazon.com.

Sign up to “52 Tips to more confident public speaking” newsletter at www.warwickjohnfahy.com

New article: Cutting the Coaching Confusion by Warwick John Fahy

You can download my article on Cutting through the Coaching confusion at my web site here.

Scroll down to the section ” Published Articles” to download the article and see many other articles on the topics of speaking with executive presence and developing talent.

Web Site Resource: One-Minute Book Reviews

I coach senior finance executives to craft memorable (hopefully!) messages and stories from often data-heavy presentations. Which is not always that easy. I teach them how to create taglines – short pithy phrases – that sum up vast amounts of data, rather than present 57 very dull slides crammed full of tables. Sometimes I am challenged by executives who find it tough to boil down their messsages to such short and catchy phrases. I admit it’s a skill which takes practice.

One great resource I have just come across which demonstrates this skill in bags is Janice Harayda‘s One-Minute Book Reviews site (no connection with The One Minute Presenter!). In a fantastic section called Books in a Sentence, Janice distills her opinion of the book into a short sentence (or two). It makes for great reading. Here are some of my favorites:

Managing Employees From Hell: Handling Idiots, Whiners, Slackers and Other Workplace Demons. By Gini Graham Scott. A much more useful guide to managing saboteurs at work than the insipid The Power of Nice.

Your Management Sucks: Why You Have to Declare War on Yourself … and Your Business. By Mark Stevens. No, the book does.

Beauty Junkies: Inside Our $15 Billion Obsession with Cosmetic Surgery. By Alex Kuczynski. An impressive blend of reporting and social commentary that may stand for years as a definitive book on the 21st-century cosmetic surgery boom.

Mystic River. By Dennis Lehane. Clint Eastwood shows, as with The Bridges of Madison County, that he’s a good director of bad books.

Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling: Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling/Career Strategies for Asians: The Essential Guide to Getting In, Moving Up, and Reaching the Top. By Jane Hyun. A former HR executive says that Asian-Americans can succeed at work partly by — surprise, surprise — “networking” and “mentoring.”

I highly recommend that you go and take a look at the others. If a book can be reduced to an informative sentence, can’t your presentation story be told in fewer words too?

Great book on designing visual presentations to busy audiences

A great book on making clear presentations and with the right approach to communicating information to today’s busy and distracted audiences is Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds. Garr also runs a fantastic blog here.