For those executives who have to make speeches (which is all of you), take a look at "The Five Biggest Mistakes CEO’s Make in Speaking," on Bert Decker’s communications blog. I might quarrel a tad bit with Fred about the top five–it’s such a competitive field. I think one of the biggest potential improvements is to more clearly focus on what needs to be said, rather than providing a laundry list of who we are, what we’ve done, etc. I have a page of notes for CEOs preparing presentations to stock analysts; shoot me an email for a copy.
CEOs certainly have a lot on their plate. They hear a really great speaker, and I imagine that they think they were not born to be a great speaker. However, most of being a great speaker comes from practice and effort to improve. Most executives get enough opportunities to speak that they are in practice. The other element is an effort to improve. Here’s a simple guide. 1. Get a coach. 2. Pick one thing at a time to work on. 3. Get lot’s of practice, even if it’s only two minutes to open up a meeting.