Lessons from a CEO

Time to Read, Twice – 5 Minutes

Last week I was in Austin, Texas, with Baker Hughes, a Fortune 250 oil field services provider, and was privileged to hear an opening address by Martin Craighead, their President and CEO.

This is not a promotional article for either Martin or Baker Hughes, this is a simple acknowledgement of one of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard – and I’ve heard a few.

Whoever you are as a leader, whatever your position, and however you describe yourself as a presenter, next time you communicate to a large group (50 plus), do what Martin did, so naturally:

1.    Be yourself – believe what you say, or don’t say it. Your audience will always see through you, if you don’t. When you are yourself, you will speak with passion. When you are not, you won’t.

2.    Walk around the whole room, making 2 second direct eye contact with one person at a time – people sitting near the person you are addressing will feel you are looking at them, as well. On really key points, stand very still.

3.    Know business – how it works, what’s important and be able to simplify the more complex areas.

You may read those three and say to yourself – ‘Yes, well thank you for the obvious, David,” – excellent, I love obvious, so now ask yourself the following three questions:

1.    You may know, it, do you DO IT?

2.    Can you do point 2 to such an extent that your techniques are so natural, that people don’t even notice them (except very sad people like me who are obsessed with speaking techniques!).

3.    Do you know the business you are in (and that includes public sector and charities – you are in “business” as well).

As always, please share your experiences.

With my love and best wishes


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