Ever wonder why some leaders achieve maximum visibility and impact?
We can all agree that those who lead organizations usually possess considerable expertise in their field. And most are strongly talented at getting ahead. But why do some stand out, generating more influence than others?
Yes, they're most likely disciplined in their work habits. They're quick learners, they work long hours, and they're good at defining their goals. And they tend to be exceptional at staying focused on the task at hand. (To maintain your own level of energy and focus, download my free cheat sheet, "10 Ways to Stay Fully Focused when Speaking.")
Along with these traits, however, extraordinary leaders have another vital attribute: more often than not, they are exceptional speakers. And that almost certainly means that they've been exposed to speech coaching.
Leading with Presence
An acting teacher once gave me some advice I've remembered ever since: at least 20% of one's reading, she said, should have nothing to do with one's profession. She meant that to be a person who understands the world and knows how to relate to other human beings, we can't become siloed into the narrow confines of our job.
As with actors, the same is true of leaders in other professions. It's part of what Sally Williamson calls "the aura of leaders." In fact, she cites a survey of 400 leaders showing that all believed presence can aid success, and 78 percent thought a lack of presence could hold them back. A prime indicator of presence, of course, is a leader's abilities in public speaking.
It's About More than Delivering a Good Keynote
Leadership communication means more than delivering a good keynote, however. To move and inspire stakeholders, leaders must not only share the beliefs and desires of those they lead—they also need the skill and ability to shape how they present themselves to the world.
That's where speech coaching comes in.
The best athletes in the world wouldn't consider competing without a coach. The most talented musicians need coaches (we call them "teachers"), as well as the most brilliant writers ("editors"). Leaders themselves often work with executive coaches who help them more successfully run their organizations. Given their high visibility, these leaders should also be learning from speech coaches.
Your Performance Persona and More
Public speaking is a performance art. And so among the most helpful professionals these leaders can work with are speech coaches whose background is acting. After all, who knows more about how to move and inspire an audience than actors?
Such coaching doesn't represent business-on-business, but performance-on-business, and can give leaders the full package they need to present their vision powerfully for dramatic results.
In addition to platform skills, this type of speech coaching can cover audience psychology, message development and delivery, the key body language techniques of public speaking, the tools of successful vocal dynamics, and the performance persona itself. Leaders also learn how to create emotional responses in listeners, resolve conflicts, craft a speech, and shape an audience's perception while leading it to action.
Daniel Day-Lewis said that when we perform, we contain within ourselves infinite possibilities. Sounds like a validation of speech coaching to foster true leadership.
 Sally Williamson, “What Executives Say About Executive Presence,” March 31, 2011, on trainingindustry.com. Accessed September 1, 2013.