Case Study 1 - Resolving Anxiety and Developing Public Speaking Confidence for a Top CEO

The Situation

The mature and highly successful MD and CEO of a publicly listed group came to us with anxiety and confidence issues surrounding his public speaking and presenting. With a crucial AGM coming up on the heels of the Global Financial Crisis, he wanted to present a calm and confident executive presence in front of a diverse audience. When confronted with prepared speeches he had traditionally frozen and been unable to even read what was in front of him.

The Program

We assessed his personal communication and began a program of coaching that combined video feedback, discussion and rehearsal. This program revolved around his busy national schedule and international contacts, ensuring that he had sufficient and continuous support in his development.

Working with him in different private settings, we developed a repertoire of materials, content and approaches that he could use in his staff meetings, with the board and for formal presentations. Peter coached him in a better understanding of communication and public speaking and how to build on his own impressive reputation, integrity and character to convey the values and vision that would drive his company.

We worked through his anxiety - delving into the causes both present and past - and developed strategies and skills for him to overcome the attacks and focus on the meaning of his speeches. Through video feedback, we identified when he was being truly genuine and allowing his natural charisma and leadership qualities to show through.

Meeting with his PR agent, we worked with the CEO, PR and the board's heavily prescriptive desires in order to tailor the presentation to his own personal language and the values that were most important to the organisation. We rehearsed his AGM presentation in advance and then prepared the site and environment on the day and provided coaching support before and during the presentation.

The Results

This CEO progressed rapidly in his confidence and overcame his significant anxiety attacks. He was able to better give presentations before general staff and successfully and fluently delivered his AGM.

After the AGM, the CEO approached Peter with a confident and excited smile and handshake, saying "I would have been *****ing myself if I hadn't met you." (An honest man, no less.)

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