Enough sledging! Can we please see some powerful presenting.

Kieran Flanagan @ThinkKieranF

There is a state election looming where I live, enormous sigh. That means a sledge fest has begun where each party begins to throw shade at their opposition. Scary voices, dispersion casting, juvenile tit-for-tatting and nothing but what is wrong with the other party and people. It gets old pretty quickly.

What happened to ‘I have a dream?’

When did our leaders stop enrapturing us with what is possible? When did they stop ensnaring us with promises of better and the call to be part of something more? It seems there are no dreams anymore only statements to be read out, controlled deliveries and election by the erosion of the other party. 

I want more from our leaders (in and out of government).

I want to be inspired by their vision, moved by their words and reassured by their behaviour. It doesn’t sound like a hard list and yet it seems like looking for a unicorn. You can’t find one.

We need our leaders to do better and we need to do better as leaders.

Leaders should be able to present

The ability to present isn’t a nice to have as a leader, it is essential. If you don’t want to drag people you need to get them to move willingly. This takes among other things, presentation skills. The skill of sharing with people a way of seeing things that connects with them. After all, it isn’t their job to listen, it is yours to communicate and connect. Ideas, words, personality, gestures, voice control and expression all matter if you want to do this.

Great leaders have always known this, from Churchill to Kennedy, they have used the power of presentation to enrol and drive progress. Too few leaders today are learning this skill. Instead they are learning presenting as an exercise in restraint and objectivity. In essence many are turning off their personalities and humanity. It doesn’t connect, they drone on at us and we tune them out.

We should want to follow

If you are a leader every time you speak in a room or town hall you are asking people to follow and they are asking ‘are you worth following?’. This means you need to show up ready to share every single time. Ready and prepared because you have done the thinking, you have considered their current point of view, you have connected to how you and they feel and you are ready to share (not deliver a speech). 

Slick or controlled isn’t powerful presenting

The most powerful example of presenting powerfully I have seen recently was from New Zealand’s awesome Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Raw, emotional and present, not polished or perfect. It wasn’t about her timing or techniques, cleverness with words or emotional control. It was how she showed up that truly mattered. We all saw the moment a true leader waked into the room and it was shared all over the planet. Wow check this out, a real leader! 

You see, presenting isn’t about being perfect or accurate or emotionally in control it’s ultimately about sharing your humanity.Jacinda called the world to rally against hatred and division without sledging. She brought love where there was hate. She makes me want to be a better presenter. She even makes me want to be a Kiwi.

Kieran Flanagan helps executives and leaders (not politicians!) become powerful presenters.

She runs in-house workshops and one on one mentoring on Presentation Mastery.