The Secrets: What CEOs and Leaders Know
1. What It Means to Speak like a CEO (the Ones You Really Admire) 3
2. Eight Secrets of Successful CEOs and Leaders Who Speak Well 17
3. You’re as Good as You Decide to Be 27
4. What You Can Learn from Ten Thousand Leaders and Working on TV for Twenty Years 37
5. The Eight Most Frequent Mistakes People Make in Front of Crowds and Cameras 47
6. The Authenticity Gap: Why the Real You
Must Shine Through 57
7. Taking Stock: How Do Your Skills Add Up? 67
8. Creating a Plan: Leaders Know It’s the Way
to Get Farther, Faster 77
The Situations: A Survival Guide for the
Events Where You Must Speak and Be Great
9. Speeches 91
10. Presentations 107
11. Q&A Sessions: Thinking on Your Feet 121
12. Media Interviews 133
13. Leading Meetings 147
14. Conversations 161
The Strategies: Become a Great Speaker
by Making a Plan and Working It
15. Ten Things You Can Do to Guarantee Success 175
16. Five Coaching Plans 183
Appendix A ■ Checklists 191
Appendix B ■ Frequently Asked Questions 195
Appendix C ■ Resources and Recommended Reading 199
Appendix D ■ Communication and Leadership 203
Appendix E ■ The Gettysburg Address: Abraham Lincoln 211
Being the top person in any organization is a great accomplishment, but it’s tough. Today, people expect more than ever of their leaders. Whether you are CEO, president, managing partner, executive director, owner, publisher, editor, king, or commander in chief, people expect more. You work hard and make the most of luck to reach the top. Then you work harder to keep the job.
If you aspire to the top job, you not only have to know your business— you have to know how to communicate with everyone else inside and outside the business. The higher you go, and the more visible you are, the more communication counts. You’re competing in a global world with instant communication. There is no forgiveness for the leader who can’t keep up.
My company is in the business of improving executive performance with better communications. I call it “Tuning the Voice of Leadership.” This book shares techniques and skills that have helped many executives and professionals do just that.
Once you arrive in the top jobs, you’re expected to know what to do. Often we find our clients are surprised. Their early roles have not prepared them for the speaking roles. As you move up the ladder, you don’t necessarily get opportunities to do what you need to when you’re the boss. You’ve been promoted for your business skill; now you have to develop a whole new set of competencies.
Why do you need to speak well if you’re a leader or if you aspire to be? It’s simple: the smartest people aren’t necessarily the ones who rise to the top. It’s the ones who can communicate well. If you don’t learn to speak like a leader, you are in danger of being passed over for your dream job. This book will show you how to develop a personalized plan for mastering the skills you need.
Whether you are the boss or you want to be, this book addresses some of the missing links. You will learn the principles for communicating like a leader—the things they don’t tell you in college or even on your way up.
Why I Wrote This Book
When I began coaching executives after twenty years in television news, I was struck by how little formal training leaders had in public speaking. Some had never attended any formal classes or worked with a coach. Some had been through a day or two of group training. Yet, they were expected to speak to large groups, deliver major keynotes, appear at important industry conferences, lead board meetings, talk to news reporters, and manage other high-pressure situations. I realized that there was a need for a book that provides a sophisticated approach to speaking well and projecting authentic leadership.
In this book, you will discover some of the secrets that I have discovered during my years in the media and then as an executive coach. The goal of this book is to share ideas that can help you develop a credible, authoritative leadership presence. The ideas and programs should shorten the learning curve and eliminate the pain of trial and error. If you incorporate these ideas and work the programs, it will transform you from a so-so speaker or presenter to a good one.
Who Should Read This Book?
Even if you have experience making presentations; running meetings; talking to reporters; or participating in panels, conferences, and seminars, you will learn valuable lessons on how to make it in the big leagues of business here. Even professionals in the field—television and radio hosts, news anchors, and people who make a living at speaking—are lifelong learners when it comes to communication skill. Top businesspeople must invest time every year in improving their communication skills if they want to have an impact as thought leaders in their industries.
What You Will Learn
The advice in this book goes beyond what you might find in a one-size-fitsall book on public speaking. This is not a standard book on presentation skills—it is a book that emphasizes the communication skills leaders must have to succeed. When you finish this book, you will be able to create a personalized plan for self-development and be well on your way to becoming an authentic and credible speaker in front of crowds and cameras.
Through exercises and self-assessments, you’ll learn to recognize and develop your own style. You’ll find nuts-and-bolts advice on how to improve speeches, presentations, and media interviews in both content and style. Tips and techniques will help you develop your own authentic, natural style and provide you with last-minute help to reduce the preperformance jitters. There’s also advice on how to speak in sound bites for TV, radio, or print. You’ll find out how to handle tough questions from a pack of reporters, ways to warm up an audience and keep people engaged—plus much more.
Beyond the mechanics of speaking and appearing like a leader, you’ll learn how to win the trust of others so that they become willing to listen to your ideas, understand your vision, and execute your strategies. The various chapters feature numerous examples of leaders who speak well and explanations of how they do it so you can adapt it to your own authentic speaking style.