ICS-Vox Humanum
Live Presentations in the Exercise of Leadership
In a few days we meet online for an interactive session on the use of presentations in the exercise of
leadership. The first half of the session will be about presentation skills, that is, how you present yourself
as a leader. The second half of the session will be about rhetorical strategies, how you can present your
message most effectively. I look forward to your active contribution to the session, as the freshness and
liveliness which you bring to the table is one of my rewards for doing this.
So, let me ask each of you to be prepared to do something which I often ask corporate executives to do in
my coaching sessions with them: introduce yourself briefly at the beginning of the session. As a leader in
any organization, the more people you lead, the less personal contact you have with them. Many people
you lead may only see you once a year at a convention. For others, having lunch with the man or woman
at the top is major career moment. These are people you may want or need to make sacrifices, give that
extra measure of commitment, burn the midnight oil for you. Or, they may be competitors or colleagues
whose respect you need to inspire or, as it happens, command. How do you introduce yourself to people,
in a way which derives the maximum benefit from that brief and precious moment?
That is to say, simply introducing yourself---as a leader--- is a form of presentation. All the rules and truths
about presentations apply. The challenge of doing this effectively increases when you do it, as in this
case, in the online, virtual environment rather than being physically present.
Here are three things I am most interested in hearing from each of you as you introduce yourself:
1. One thing you really believe in. Leadership is all about believing and inspiring others to believe, about
caring, and inspiring others to care. Arguably, everything else is…management.
2. What you are like. Please use the very specific phrase “I am like _________ “ Fill in the blank with an
animal, mineral, vegetable, meteorological phenomenon, differential equation, or anything else that suits
the purpose. The analogy ideally should give some idea of how to best get along with or work with you,
what it is like for people to relate to you...as a colleague, manager, boss, or...leader. You may want to
elaborate on the analogy in a few sentences.
3. One thing you would really like to work on or learn in this session with respect to the use of presentation
skills and/or rhetorical strategies in the exercise of leadership. This may help me to relate some of the
elements of the rest of the session to your particular concerns, and/or increase your awareness of that on
your own.
It would be best if this introduction took no more than one minute, as there are a lot of introductions to be
made. Rhetoric…is all about time. One of the primary differences between delivering a message via
literature and delivering a message via a live presentation is the fact that your live presentation takes place
within the limitations of time. You may need to take time thinking about, preparing, practicing your
introduction in advance, in order to arrive at an economy of expression. The French philosopher Voltaire
once wrote, “I am very sorry to have written you such a long letter. I did not have time to make it shorter.”
Take the time in advance to make your introduction as expressive as possible in the brief time available.
This is, in part, an exercise about getting a lot done in a brief presentation in an elegant and seemingly
effortless way. I have heard tell about ducks or swans on the Farm…
Looking forward to meeting each of you on Friday,
John Paval
Stockholm, Sweden
John Paval
Skype: PresentationsLive