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How to Prepare Executives for Public Speaking


Public relations and communications professionals rely heavily on digital communication to spread brand awareness and messages, but some scenarios call for a more personal approach. While PR, communications and marketing professionals may be comfortable speaking in public, the same is not always true of executives. Indeed, while some members of the C-suite are fantastic public speakers, others are far less comfortable.

Having said that, it’s pivotal for PR and communications professionals to make sure the messages executives portray to audiences when speaking in public are aligned their organization’s overall brand. Brand consistency plays a major role in successful public speaking engagements, and other qualities such as confidence and effectively responding to post-speech questions are also crucial.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Different executives have different levels of comfort around public speaking. Regardless of comfort level, however, it’s important that your executive practices the speech before presenting it. A good starting point is making sure your executive’s body language isn’t dull or overly excited to the point of distraction. Eye contact with audiences is also very important. Speakers will feel more confident maintaining eye contact with audiences once they’ve practiced their speech and have memorized crucial points.. When speakers have parts of the speech memorized, these are the moments they can look up to the audience to create a more personal connection within the presentation.

For an extra boost in speech-giving confidence, advise your executive to watch some of his or her favorite speeches to try to pinpoint what makes them so great and impactful. While practicing, he or she can try to emulate characteristics that will make a lasting impression on audiences. Practice also helps get rid of filler words such as “like” or “um.” Encourage your executive to record when they practice so he or she can perfect the flow of the speech.

Maintain Brand Consistency in Your Speeches

Executives are often known as the face of a company, and it’s important that they stick to using your organization’s core values, mottos and catchphrases in any public remarks. Your brand’s face-to-face communication should express a similar tone that your company’s digital marketing and advertising messages share.

Make sure your brand’s message is consistent with your audience’s interest. For example, if your executive attends a conference where the audience consists of other executives, the brand’s approach and message will likely be different than if your organization were presenting to a group of marketers. Either way, it’s important for the entire organization to be on the same page when communicating with all levels of audiences.

Use Proven Techniques to Overcome Your of Fear Public Speaking

At this point, you’ve prepared your executive to practice and have helped pave the direction of brand points to cover during the speech. However, having a general fear of public speaking is a real thing no matter how much one is prepared, and many people have their own approaches to dealing with the jitters that come before presenting. Here are a few ideas to relay to your executive:

Pre-Speech Prep:

  • Think and speak positively to yourself. Be encouraging.
  • Look good, feel good. Dress to impress, but remain true to yourself.
  • Eat a healthy meal and avoid new foods.
  • Hydrate to avoid a dry throat and cracks in your speech.
  • Use the restroom.

Perfect Your Post-Speech Performance

While the speech itself is the main part of any presentation, all speakers should review their speech and prepare for questions they may receive after the presentation. If you have trouble brainstorming follow-up questions, share your speech with colleagues and friends and see what questions they might have.

Make sure your executive is prepared for both positive and challenging questions. How your executive interacts with audiences can increase brand credibility, which can influence listeners to take action and see what else your brand has to offer.

Priscilla Osorio

Priscilla is the marketing coordinator for Critical Mention. Early on in her career, she developed a passion for marketing, writing and anything within the communication field. During her leisure time, she loves to watch her favorite sports teams and explore new restaurants with friends and family.