- CEO reputation is more important than ever to the success of a company, and
- Public speaking is a critically important tool for CEOs who want to build or strengthen their reputations.
These are just two of the fascinating findings from The CEO Reputation Premium: Gaining Advantage in the Engagement Era. It’s the latest study on CEO reputation from Weber Shandwick, in partnership with KRC Research.
The report, from WS’s Chief Reputation Strategist Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross and others, finds that 81% of global executives believe external CEO engagement is now a mandate for building company reputation. Executives also strongly believe that their own CEO’s reputation contributes to nearly half of their company’s market value.
The whole report is well worth a read. Here are some of the highlights:
Highly regarded CEOs are good at external relations.
82% of executives believe that it’s most important for CEOs to speak at external events, and particularly at industry-related events.
CEOs should exercise caution when taking a public stance on policy
To bolster the CEO’s reputation, the CEO’s message or vision can be embedded in a compelling story that delineates the greater purpose behind the company.
Almost every time I give a presentation on how to “Communicate Better to Grow Your Business,” someone asks for advice on how to use PowerPoint effectively. My basic response is, think about all the terrible PowerPoint presentations you’ve sat through, and don’t do what those presenters did.
More seriously, I tell people that there are a ton of excellent articles, posts and even presentations on the Web describing the good and bad ways to use slides and other visual elements. Here are three I find especially useful:
- My friend and true “trade show magician,” Charles Greene, wrote this terrific blog post a few years ago. He offers very clear, pointed advice on how to avoid “death by PowerPoint” and instead take your audience with you on a pleasurable road trip through your presentation.
- It makes sense that the American Speech Language Hearing Association would know a thing or two about effective presentations. Here they boil their PowerPoint advice down to a terrific list of Do’s and Don’t’s.
- Finally, you should definitely read this e-booklet by marketing guru supreme, Seth Godin. With witty prose, and plenty of examples, he describes how to avoid “Really Bad PowerPoint.”
With CEO firings peaking in 2014, top executives have to be thinking about how best to protect their jobs. In my latest Thought Leadership post for smartCEO, I point out how critically important to CEO job security is the ability to communicate a clear vision. You’ll find the article here.
Thank you, Vital Speeches! Truly an honor to win a 2015 Cicero Award for best speechwriting. And thanks to super energy executive George Biltz, who was so great to work with as we prepared his keynote for this year’s Pittsburgh Chemical Day gathering.
Scott Span, MSOD, CEO & Lead Consultant of Tolero Solutions, wrote an interesting post for his company blog that got picked up by several other high profile business cites. The title says it all, 5 Hard Truths About Leadership That You Never Stop Learning.
In his truth #2,” Leadership isn’t management,” Span argues that one of the qualities that sets leaders apart is the ability to create a vision of the future and rally people around it. “Leadership,” he says, “connects the big ideas to what matters to the people around them: employees, customers, and stakeholders. Leadership sets direction, builds agreement, influences and motivates others, and inspires commitment.”
And he makes clear you can’t rally the troops around a vision unless you know how to communicate. The problem, he warns, is that “just because you may be in a leadership role doesn’t always mean you are an expert communicator. … Truth is, this is not a skill obtained by title alone. Some leaders have the gift for communication, some can learn, some may just never master the art.”
I would object slightly to that last sentence. While it’s true that not every CEO can become a master communicator, every CEO can learn to do a better job communicating his or her vision.