Chief Learning Officer magazine is a trademark of Mediatec Publishing Inc. All clomedia.com and Chief Learning Officer magazine content Copyright 2013 MediaTec Publishing Inc. All Rights Reserved. It is illegal to copy, reproduce or publish any information contained on clomedia.com or in Chief Learning Officer magazine without express written permission from MediaTec Publishing Inc.
Public Speaking is Scary, Even for Company Leaders
Speaking well in public doesn’t come naturally for everyone, nor does it come with experience, as do many of the other skills that C-level executives need to succeed in their jobs. According to Ty Boyd, CEO of Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, fear of p
Speaking well in public doesn’t come naturally for everyone, nor does it come with experience, as do many of the other skills that C-level executives need to succeed in their jobs. According to Ty Boyd, CEO of Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, fear of public speaking is alive and very much inhibiting effective communication for senior-level leaders.
“That old song is really true that the number-one fear is fear of speaking,” said Boyd. “In the average class we have for the executives we coach, we find when they’re really honest, it is really a terrifying experience for them. Many are very well schooled in their professions and in the skills of their craft but have never had any exposure to really good communication skills, really using the toolbox well. They will assign someone else to do their presenting. They will think that they have to project that macho kind of person that they read about in the business magazines, not realizing that very thing is limiting them in their effectiveness with other people.”
Boyd, whose company typically focuses on middle and upper-level management in the top 25 percent of the corporate world, hosts workshops of varying length for companies such as Georgia Pacific, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. He said that the model for effective communication has been reported by the media, but not necessarily observed. Communication skills, which include listening as well as speaking, are one of the top skill groups a leader should have, but these skills do not have to be perfect. Instead, effective communication should be a mixture of skill, sincerity and creativity. “Some people use sincerity as a sledgehammer,” Boyd said. “Sincerity is hard for me to define, but I know it when I experience it. It’s not just being serious all the time or being factual and demure. It goes back to being open, honest, vulnerable, authentic and doing what you say, because a lot of times our greatest communicators are our actions.”
Audiences have changed, and speakers must keep the audience engaged or lose them. “People have become very passive,” Boyd said. “You have to deliver your message well, even if you’ve got the cure for cancer, or people won’t care. We’ve become passive because we have 150 channels to choose from. We don’t have to enter into that dialogue, and when we do, it better be good or we select another channel. The audience expects more, and it translates into the business place. We sit in an auditorium, and we may look directly at the speaker while our mind is in Venezuela. The speaker has got to be much more exciting and entertaining. This doesn’t mean funny and overly verbose. It just means you’ve got to be so interesting that you hold the attention of the audience above any other distractions or thoughts they might have.”
The Next Generation of HR: Whatâ€™s Wrong? Whatâ€™s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
Get the Magazine