In Body language, Delivery, Environment, Facial expression, Gesturing, Listening, Meetings, Mindset, Networking, News, Owning space, The Winning Voice, Voice, What not to do

Hope your 2021 has begun well.

Here’s my current, in-depth list of mistakes – in no particular order – I see executives making in their leadership communication.

  1. Entering a room (Virtual or In-person) with no radiation of warmth and energy and calm enthusiasm.
  2. Not facing up to digital communication (Here is my Virtual Communication Resources page. Think of it as Virtual Communication 101.
  3. Running over time when presenting.
  4. Rushing/lack of knowing how to own time, in either movement, gesturing and speaking. Doesn’t know how to own time.
  5. Lack of awareness of what is, and demonstration of, open and encouraging body language.
  6. A voice that lacks energy and certainty.
  7. Lack of awareness of how they’re perceived when under pressure.
  8. Not knowing how to pair gestures with a word or phrase.
  9. Not knowing how to determine their key message(s) for a presentation and frame it in a simple way.
  10. Not having key questions to understand what senior leaders want from them in presentations.
  11. Unsure of the real reason they’ve been invited to present to leadership team and boardroom meetings.
  12. Mediocre awareness of how their voice is perceived and not having techniques to project energy and certainty with their voice.
  13. Not having structures to package their ideas.
  14. Not knowing what structures should be used for certain situations.
  15. Not knowing how to interject in a boardroom discussion, and get across a point so that it’s memorable.
  16. Not having schemas to listen and speak under pressure.
  17. Losing cool when pressured.
  18. Not having schemas and talking tracks to maintain composure when under-pressure.
  19. Not knowing the schema to engage a senior leader in a chance encounter.
  20. Not having a schema for networking.
  21. Not having a schema for being a panellist.
  22. Not being able to adapt a presentation to the audience. For example, boardroom versus 500 person audience.
  23. Not having a schema to plan a presentation within a short time span.
  24. Taking themselves too seriously.
  25. Not being adaptable in interactions with various people. For example, how to interact with a senior leader versus a junior team member.
  26. Not knowing how to put people at ease and how to connect people.
  27. Not knowing how to command the full range of their attention, including their inner feelings and impulses.
  28. Lacking awareness of how others perceive them.
  29. Not understanding what others need from them.
  30. Quick to judge instead of withholding judgement and being curious.
  31. Being distracted from the present moment.
  32. Not asking thought-provoking of their reports, peers and seniors think.
  33. Not having fresh metaphors to make their ideas memorable.
  34. Needing to find signs that stroke their ego.

Own the Conversation

Did any point stand-out for you?

If so,

  1. Consider the following words, that I share in my One-on-One training with clients:

One of the simplest ways to boost anyone’s curiousity is to become more autonomous during learning. This can be as simple as writing out what you already know about a subject to be studied and then setting down the questions you really want to answer.

The idea is to highlight the gaps in your knowledge, which is known to boost curiosity by creating a mystery that needs to be solved, and it makes is personally relevant, which also increases interest.

2. Choose one of the above points. Write out three questions you want to answer about the point. Endeavour to find answers to those questions. For example for point #31, you write out.

  • How might I become less distracted in meetings?
  • Who could help be more focussed?
  • What is underpinning my distraction?


p.s. Are you a pre-packaged leader? Here’s a post to find out if you are.

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