The Chief Operating Officer of a global financial services business was being supported to establish himself in his new role with a view to succeeding as CEO. Having already experienced a considerable amount of communication coaching, and with a perceived excellence in external communication skills, his colleagues described him as very clear, logical and honest. Analysts also rated him highly and he was especially good with non-native English speakers speaking slowly and in a measured way.
Whilst an experienced leader with clear communication skills, some colleagues interpreted his measured approach as cold, static and lacking humanity. More importantly, he was not comfortable presenting on camera but with his global span of control video and webcasting were key communications tools.
He had a tendency to lose energy in his voice and had issues around dynamic range, breathing and enunciation. His current and future role would require him to appear comfortable and fluent in front of a camera. Much of this stemmed from him being a self-confessed introvert who found it difficult to shift out of analyst mode.
An initial diagnostic session was organised with Khalid Aziz and our camera man before a tailored programme was designed to address the individual skills required to perfect a relaxed performance to camera.
The Aziz Programme
An initial 1:1 session of skills based coaching was designed to provide a tool kit for improving formal presentation skills when in front of a camera by focusing on:
- Building confidence in delivering the message to camera
- Polishing current skills by focusing on content & delivery style
- Improving ability to present ‘off the cuff’
- Helping ‘re-shape’ the communication to show emotion and feelings
- How to and when to use storytelling to engage more with the audience
Presenting on camera calls for a higher level of presentational self-awareness. In this session we identified and coached best practice in a number of areas including:
- Assessing current skill levels and camera acceptability (photogenics)
- Advising on types of clothing that work better on camera
- Identifying audiences’ discernible distractions – tics, mannerisms, speech patterns
- Assessing linguistic facility (particularly in light of many in audience not having English as a first language)
- Use of facial expression for emphasis
- Use of pausing for gravitas
- Techniques for using Autocue seamlessly and without appearing to read
- Understanding of which words work best in spoken communications
After just one session we identified that his breathing and voice control needed a boost and recommended a programme with one of our Voice specialists. We worked on his content and forms of words and demonstrated immediate payback in terms of how much easier it was for him to present enthusiastically when speaking “Speak Speak” rather than “Print Speak.” We agreed to offer ongoing support working with his comms team to create drafts and supporting the COO through rehearsal and performance.
“ I hadn’t realised how much the language I was using was hampering my presentation style. Simple changes have made all the difference”
“To have ongoing support and high caliber external input from a real expert for both me and my comms team has been a real benefit that pays dividends.”
Feedback on Camera
“Our clients always benefit from time spent in front of camera for giving a more polished and engaging performance. Many who have never presented to camera appreciate the ‘safe environment’ allowing people to hone their skills and clearly communicate their messages.” – Phil Davidovitz – Aziz Broadcast Cameraman
When several people came up to me after the presentation and told me my approach was unusual and lively, I knew that was Aziz Corporate’s influence.