Oct 01 Develop Your Higher Level Communication Mindset
Working with corporate executive clients I’ve noticed that the majority of them have a really hard time communicating effectively with CEOs, Boards of Directors, and others in top positions within the organization or industry. They know how to prepare a presentation. But when they try to deliver the goods in the C-Suite they stumble and trip all over themselves. So let’s address this issue, shall we?
A High Stakes Game
Speaking to the C-Suite there may be a great deal more at stake. Your potential to prove yourself may be on the line. Do well and you may be on the fast track to a promotion or you may land a very lucrative client or contract. But blow it and you might experience some negative career-altering repercussions.
The Root of the Problem
You’re on a bigger stage. The audience may be less lenient and question you in a more aggressive manner. Addressing the C-Suite is like arguing a case in front of the Supreme Court versus arguing it in front of a local judge and jury. You’re in the shark tank, and the sharks want to cut through the fluff and get down to brass tacks. You need a new mindset!
Tips and Solutions
You have to be quicker on your feet, yet more articulate and eloquent. So you have to prepare differently, the way political candidates prep for a high-profile televised debate.
- Without proper mindset management you will naturally be seized by stage fright and fear. That will trigger the release of adrenaline, which is a natural “fight or flight” response. That’s where the trouble begins.
- Adrenaline makes your hands shake and your heart rate increase. Your breath gets tight and your voice quakes. You’ll start talking faster than normal. You’ll want to run and hide – not exactly where you want your head to be with your career on the line.
- Visualize yourself delivering the presentation. Imagine the toughest questions. Brainstorm 2-3 responses to each one, ahead of time. Work with a partner, if possible. Have them throw difficult questions your way in an attempt to knock you off your game. Practice responding to them with poise and grace.
- Rehearsing success rewires your brain to feel at ease under duress. Manage your mindset in this way and when you stand up to speak a different cocktail of chemicals will be released within your neurological system. They’ll boost your confidence and elevate your presentation to a whole new level.
You’ll be in control, as leaders should be. Those C-Suite decision makers will take note of your composure. They’ll see you as a rising star, not someone who crashed and burned on the hot seat.
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Sarah Hathorn is a leadership development mentor, executive presence coach, image and branding consultant, public speaker & author. She is the founding CEO of her own successful company, Illustra Consulting, and the creator of the proprietary Predictable Promotion™ System.
1-800-267-3245 | www.illustraconsulting.com
Copyright © 2013, Sarah Hathorn, AICI CIP, CPBS
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Sarah Hathorn, CEO of Hathorn Consulting Group, is the go-to-expert in working with leaders and companies to create successful corporate DNA. As an executive coach, consultant and speaker she collaborates globally with clients and brands such as Deloitte, McKesson, Kimberly-Clark, Sherwin-Williams, Home Depot and other leading organizations.
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