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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in leadership training

If you are like me, this is a great time to catch up on the latest research conducted during the year. I had flagged this landmark government funded report by the Study of Australian Leadership Group from the University of Melbourne and Centre for Workplace Leadership, ‘Leadership at Work: Do Australian leaders have what it takes?” mainly because of the spirited commentary it generated when it was released late in the year!

The report questions whether Australian leaders are up for the challenge of ‘slow economic growth globally…rate of technological change’ which are disrupting traditional business models along with a ‘seismic shift in the competitive and regulatory environment.’ The report used surveys of over 8000 people on which to base their findings. One source of the controversy arose from the section on ‘Significant gaps and weaknesses in Australia’s leadership and management.’ (Exec summary p. 8)

Peter Wilson, AM, AHRI Chairman takes exception to some of the findings, particularly in relation to the way public sector and private sector targets are  set and measured, the failure to ‘disentangle leadership from other core drivers of performance’ and how often senior leaders access external information and advice. To read both viewpoints, please go to:
for the full report

If you are looking for short courses to develop your leadership skills or for formal leadership roles in investigation management or emergency management please get in touch

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Anyone who has been in the workforce for more than a few months has probably endured the phenomenon of ‘death by PowerPoint’. 

It’s a peculiar form of torture where audiences are held captive (often in a darkened room) by one of their own colleagues or another person with links to the organisation.

Once all available exits have been secured, the ‘presenter’ begins to talk and exhibit slides crammed with too much information, tiny fonts and bad clip art. On an on it goes, until all eyes have glazed over and collectively, the audience has lost the will to live.

Although speaking in front of others is a well-known source of anxiety, the ability to prepare and deliver a high quality presentation is undoubtedly a direct reflection on your professionalism. How you prepare, how you communicate and engage others are all important factors in creating a positive impression from the opportunity. 

So how can we break this cycle of cruelty and avoid causing unnecessary suffering to others?

Here are our best tips for giving an unforgettable presentation – for all the right reasons!

1.  Know your audience. 

Who’s going to be there and why? Are there any ‘hot button’ issues you need to know about and either directly acknowledge or avoid it (eg major IT system failures, a new CEO etc). What motivates this crowd?  What do they care about? Focus on how the presentation is relevant to them.

2.  Know your topic

Is your material current, relevant and useful to this audience? Anticipate what types of questions you might be asked, especially the hard ones, and think about how you will respond, before you’re under the spotlight.

3. Visit the room beforehand. 

Confirm the size is right and lighting and ventilation works properly. What audio-visual equipment will you need? 

4. Practise, practise, practise. 

There’s nothing like a rambling speaker to put an audience off.  And once that OFF switch has been flicked, good luck trying to get it back ON again.  Practise what you want to say and do it out loud

5.  Get there early.

You are not Madonna. Allow for the possibility that you could get caught in traffic or that an unforeseen problem may delay you. The last thing you want is to be feeling panicked or flustered when it is your turn to speak.

6.  Try not using PowerPoint.

 Or use it in a very limited way. Other options can include:  sending out content beforehand, photographs, short video clips, music, props, samples, brief handouts or get audience members involved in relevant demonstrations? You might even want to try new cloud-based software tools like Prezi. We all have shorter attention spans these days (that’s right, down from 12 minutes a decade ago to five minutes now) so get creative and mix up your media!

7.  Think about your posture and body language. 

Stand up straight and really ‘own’ the space around you. Don’t cling to the lectern like it’s a life raft.  Move around and/or use props or hand gestures if you need to make a strong point.

8. Make eye contact with the audience. 

You need to do this before, during and after your presentation. Remember to scan the room and smile, without staring at any one individual for too long.

9. Start with a good story. 

Ideally it should be something your audience can relate to – and all the better if it is amusing.  Barrack Obama is a master or the amusing anecdote.  Many TED talk speakers also use this technique.

10.  Speak at a normal pace and remember to pause. 

Ifyouspeaktoofastitmakesitharderforthe audiencetounderstandwhatyou’resaying! The average speaking speed is is between 110 and 150 words per minute. Time yourself when you are practising out loud and remember to pause periodically, e.g. before a particularly salient point.

11.  Use case studies.

 Real examples are infinitely more memorable than concepts and theories. If you are proposing a new way of approaching something, find out where else this has been tried. Did it work? Why or why not?  Remember that even negative results can be illuminating and relevant.

12.  Acknowledge and include opposing views. 

People want and deserve to be given a balanced view of important news and issues. Your presentation will have more credibility if you can show that you have analysed your subject thoroughly and looked at it from different angles.  One-sided presentations are just propaganda.

13.  Repeat your key message three times during your presentation

Try to do this in one sentence or less (i.e. three to ten words).  We live and work in a digital age where we are all bombarded with information, 24/7.  Never assume your message will sink in the first time people hear it.

14.  Use a memorable closing story and image. 

Your closing words and graphics are just as important as your opening ones, so make the effort to find ones that relate to your message or sums up the subject. 90 per cent of information transmitted to the brain is visual? Visual information is also processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than written words. Pictures are often remembered long after words and statistics have been forgotten.

15.  Stick to your time limit. 

Speaking overtime is rude to your audience, the host of the event and the presenter who follows you. Keep an eye on the clock during your talk and pace yourself so you can finish on time.


If you would like to know more about advanced communication, leadership skills or other training opportunities for yourself or your organisation, please contact us.


  • <http://executivespeechcoach.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/superior-presentations-71-how-many.html> 30 March 2016<http://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/10-tips-on-giving-a-killer-presentation.html> viewed 30 March 2016
  • <http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2014/11/14/six-ways-to-avoid-death-by-powerpoint/#b83edcd34cbb>
    viewed 30 March 2016
  • <http://fortune.com/2013/07/10/giving-a-speech-conquer-the-five-minute-attention-span/>viewed 30 March 2016
  • <http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/if-these-extraordinarily-powerful-images-of-a-dead-syrian-child-washed-up-on-a-beach-don-t-change-10482757.html> viewed 30 March 2016
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My previous blog post discussed the inherent differences in out multi-generational workforces. Following on from that, here are some practical suggestions to assist people managers to manage the expectations of everyone in the team.

1.  People all of all generations want to be respected.  

Everyone has different strengths to bring to the table, whether it’s years of real-world experience and accumulated corporate knowledge, a fresh young mind and novel approach to problem-solving or an amazing proficiency with the next big thing in social media.  

Promote a culture of active listening and discourage employees from generation-bashing eg: ‘I see Dad’s Army are manning the security desk again this morning!’ or ‘Have you seen the new intern in the accounts department? A flock of seagulls could be nesting in those dreadlocks!’

2. Be clear about expectations and career advancement opportunities within your organisation right from the start. 

Realistic information at recruitment fairs and job interviews, as well as ‘onboarding’ and induction programs can help to manage the high expectations of young people when they join the workforce. Remember they are often highly qualified and recognise that there can be blockages at the top as older generations remain in the workforce and this tension may need to be managed. The fact that globally this generation is highly qualified and it is a very competitive recruitment market means that young people need to distinguish themselves in the job market through experience. Exposing them to different experiences or projects (not necessarily promotion) can be a way to manage everyone’s expectations in the workplace.

3.  Emphasise shared goals but be flexible about the best way to reach them.  

Nobody likes being micro-managed and different generations may approach their work in a variety of ways. Gen Y are often exceptional multi-taskers, Gen X may prefer to work autonomously and some Boomers may be more comfortable working collaboratively. However, there are many roads to a shared destination. Be flexible. Encourage staff to communicate openly and to celebrate their creativity and diversity.

4.  Encourage inter-generational mentoring

Not everyone will feel at ease sitting in a classroom (particularly a computer training room) but everybody likes to learn new skills and feel valued by their employer. Consider offering a ‘skills exchange’ program where, for example, Boomers pair up with Gen Y to swap advice about leadership skills for help using new technologies.

5.  Leaders need to be authentic, trustworthy and motivating.  

Different generations may have different expectations about leadership but everyone wants to be able to trust and respect the ‘commander-in- chief’. The best leaders have a broad range of leadership styles and have the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances and different audiences.

6.  Encourage a healthy work-life balance for all age groups.

To retain valuable staff of all age groups for longer, ask people what they need in terms of a reasonable balance and as long as it doesn’t interfere with organisational goals or performance, try to accommodate it wherever possible.

7.  Change is hard on everyone.  

There is a widespread perception that older people are more resistant to change and that young people embrace it. However, research shows that the acceptance or rejection of change has far more to do with the perceived costs and benefits of that change than the age demographics of employees.

8.  Give constructive feedback and encourage life-long learning. 

Everybody likes to know how well they’re performing and feel that they have the skills to do their job well.  Research conducted by the Hay Group found that all generations cited ‘exciting and challenging work’ as the main reason for staying with their current employer. Give staff opportunities to keep growing and developing their skill sets and knowledge base, whatever their age.

9.  All generations have similar core values but they may express them differently.  

While people of different age groups may at times seem worlds apart in terms of interests and capabilities, when it comes to what really matters most, all generations put family at the top of their list. Other top values shared across the generational divide include: achievement, competence, happiness integrity, love, self-respect, responsibility and wisdom.

10.  Loyalty is about the context, not the age of your employees.  

There has been a lot written in recent times about younger generations being less loyal employees than older ones. However, research has found that number of hours worked by employees related more to the level of seniority within an organisation rather than age demographics, ie the greater the level of responsibility, the more hours worked.

If you would like to know more about human resource management, conflict resolution or leadership training opportunities for your organisation, please contact us.

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