executive presence word pronunciation

To Increase Executive Presence, Sharpen Your Word Pronunciation

Eleni Kelakos Executive leadership coaching, Executive Presence, Peak Performance, speech coaching

I once had the CEO of a company reach out to me to ask if I would coach a member of his leadership team in sharpening his verbal skills so he could increase his executive presence. “The problem,” he explained,” is that this fellow mispronounces a lot of words. For example, he says “acrost” instead of “across,” and “supposably” instead of “supposedly.” He’s in a position that’s heavily client-facing, and I don’t want these verbal slips to undermine his credibility. I know that word pronunciation is a little thing. But I believe it’s often the little things that can hold …

Dance With What You’re Given: A Lesson In Grace From Miley Cyrus

Eleni Kelakos Executive leadership coaching, Peak Performance, presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching, Women in Leadership

It was New Year’s Eve, 2021, and superstar performer, Miley Cyrus, took the stage in her live TV special, singing and dancing while rockin’ a fabulous teeny tiny silver skirt and matching teeny tiny halter top. All was well. Until it suddenly wasn’t: The teeny tiny top suddenly loosened, and Miley’s hands leaped up to hold it up, as she shimmied and sang. For a few moments, she tried to keep up with her complicated choreography. And then, no doubt realizing it would be impossible to keep dancing with her arms and hands immobilized, she backed off the stage, still …

Assertive or Aggressive? What’s the Difference

Eleni Kelakos Executive leadership coaching, Problem Solving, Self Help, speech coaching, Women in Leadership

Years ago, while I was living and working in New York City as a professional actor, I had a passing acquaintance with another performer I’ll call Paula. With a soaring, powerful voice reminiscent of Barbra Streisand, Paula was one of the most talented singers I’d ever heard. As big as her voice was, her drive to succeed as a Broadway musical theater performer was even bigger. She was, however, continuously frustrated by her inability to land the kind of big, splashy roles she not only felt she deserved but could rightfully handle. The more no’s she got, the more frustrated …

Public Speaking Success: Making The Most Of A Wrong Note

Eleni Kelakos Peak Performance, presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching

What You Do Next Matters I was leafing through a catalogue of novelty items, when a quote by jazz great Miles Davis printed on a tee shirt caught my eye.  “When you hit a wrong note,” it said, “it’s the next note that makes it good or bad!”  I ripped out the quote and pinned it to my bulletin board, thinking Mr. Davis nailed it! When it comes to performing in public, It’s what you do next with a moment that goes awry that matters. The fact is, whether you give a speech or a concert, public performances are in-the-moment …

Executive Presence: Switch On Your Video and Unmute Yourself

Eleni Kelakos Executive leadership coaching, Peak Performance, presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching, Zoom Performance Anxiety

When it comes to Executive Presence, I like to say that “presence = being present”. And being present means being willing to truly be in each moment as it unspools. It means allowing yourself to see and be seen, hear and be heard, feel and be felt. If you want to make a real impact, and to amp up your executive presence, you’ve got to be willing to fully reveal yourself. Which is why I’m so fascinated by how many business professionals who say they want to be perceived more as leaders choose to don their cloak of invisibility. And …

When You Get Your Cue, Don’t Think, Just Do.

Eleni Kelakos Peak Performance, speech coaching, Women in Leadership

The following is an excerpt from Chapter 7, Take Your Cue, from my book, Claim the Stage: A Woman’s Guide to Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Taking Leadership, which is THIS far from being published. Stay tuned for more about my book launch and release date! Preparation builds confidence. But overpreparation due to the need to be perfect can kill your confidence because it presumes a lack of readiness or worth that can only be conquered by doing, or being, something that is unattainable. The pitfall of perfection is one that women of all ages and career levels risk teetering into. And it’s …

Three Ways to be Confident on Camera

Eleni Kelakos Executive leadership coaching, Peak Performance, presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching, Women in Leadership

When the 2020 Pandemic hit, every aspect of my work that I typically did in a room within literal reach of an audience of one many– from executive presence leadership coaching, to group presentation skills training, to giving keynote presentations— moved 100% to a virtual platform. Staring into lens of the Logitech camera perched on the top of my computer screen, I was taken back to my early days as a professional actress in New York City when, after several years of auditioning for and performing in plays and musicals, I started to audition for television and film projects. Though …

3 Ways to Rock Your Short Talk

Eleni Kelakos Executive leadership coaching, Peak Performance, presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching

Sammy, a young inventor, and the winner of a prestigious 30 under 30 award from Forbes, Inc was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: To give a short talk about his groundbreaking invention at the prestigious annual Forbes summit.  When he called me to set up some coaching sessions to help him shape his presentation, I asked how long his short talk needed to be.  “Five minutes on the nose,” he replied. Five minutes to give a short talk with career-boosting impact. Five minutes to give a short talk to an audience of deep-pocketed potential investors. Five minutes to give a short …

What Is a Keynote Speech? Plus 5 Steps to Help You Write One.

Eleni Kelakos Peak Performance, presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching

You’ve been asked to deliver a keynote speech at an upcoming event.  And while you may be flattered by the request, you have a lot of questions, like: “What is a keynote speech anyway? What makes it different that other presentations?  How long should a keynote speech be? And how do I write a keynote speech Before I answer those questions, let me congratulate you for having been asked to deliver a keynote speech.  Because being invited to give a keynote speech means that have developed a perspective, a public persona, or a big idea that is interesting enough to …

5 Ways to Beat Zoom Performance Anxiety (ZPA)

Eleni Kelakos Executive leadership coaching, Peak Performance, presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching

As a presentation skills coach and trainer, I’ve spent almost twenty years helping clients manage presentation performance anxiety.  But it’s only been since Covid-19 reared it’s extremely ugly head that I’ve needed to help my clients manage what I’m calling  Zoom Performance Anxiety, or ZPA (and oh, how I wish I could have found a way to make ZAP work instead of ZPA)!  Several presentation coaching and executive presence leadership coaching clients, both new and old, have confessed to a surprising and off-putting fear of speaking while using online platforms like Zoom.  They typically experience Zoom Performance Anxiety when they …

Paint Your Speaker Vision in Living Color

Eleni Kelakos presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching

Imagine going to an archery range that had no targets. You’d be standing around with your bow and arrow, scratching your head and wondering “Uh, where do I point this thing?” Or you might be firing off arrows willy-nilly in all manner of directions, which isn’t exactly productive. Without a target, you have nothing to aim at. That’s the reasoning behind writing and using a Speaker Vision.  By vision I mean a clear, specific, and compelling picture of how you want to see yourself as a speaker at a specific point in time in the future (e.g. six months or …

To Boost Public Speaking Confidence, Take Time to Take a Bow

Eleni Kelakos Executive leadership coaching, Peak Performance, presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching, Women in Leadership

Claudia had spent weeks working with me to prepare a high-level presentation for a prestigious conference that would showcase her considerable expertise.  The effort she’d put into developing and internalizing the presentation was almost as mighty as the effort she’d put into managing the anxiety she’d had about giving it.   I was confident that she was ready, and that her performance would make us both proud. On the day Claudia gave her presentation, she shot me a brief text:  “Went great! More when I see you next week.”  Claudia’s brief text sounded triumphant. Which was why I was so taken …

Presentation Skills Tip: To Keep Your Audiences Engaged, “You-nify” Your Presentations

Eleni Kelakos presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching

As a presentation skills coach and trainer, one of the most common questions I get asked is “How do I keep my audience engaged?”  There are, of course, multiple answers to that question (which I’ve written about here and here and here). But one of my favorite responses and techniques is also one of the simplest: “You-nify” your presentation.  By that I mean, say “you” more. Say the word you more than you say the word I. Say you more, so your audience members can see (and feel) themselves in the story you’re telling, the scenario you’re sharing, or in …

To be a Better Speaker, Honor the Sacred Stage

Eleni Kelakos presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching

(Or Lessons in Peak Performance from an Italian Waiter) While dining in a rooftop restaurant in Venice, Italy, I was struck by our waiter’s commitment to providing us with a memorable, meaningful dining experience. “Giacomo” made sure to provide every little thing we needed—from changes of silverware between each course, to finger-bowls with lemon after we’d dug into our mussels and clams appetizer. And he plated and served our food with the kind of focus and dramatic flair reserved for top-level magicians or performing artists. As I watched him lovingly twirl a pyramid of pasta onto my plate, and meticulously …

Public Speaking Training Tip: Three Ways to Slow Down When You’re a Fast Talker

Eleni Kelakos presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching

As a public speaking training coach, I am constantly saying some version of “Whoaaaaa, Nellie!” to my fast-talking clients. By fast-talking, I mean folks whose natural inclination is to talk (and, often, to think) a mile-a-minute, often verbally galloping way ahead of whoever they’re talking to. If you’re a fast-talker you’re probably going to be inclined to talk even faster when you give a presentation and your nerves and adrenaline kick in. Unfortunately, the faster you talk, the more your audience has to work to keep up with you. And the harder they work to stay at your pace, the …

4 Ways to Honor Intellectual Property (and Your Fellow Speakers)

Eleni Kelakos presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching

I have always been an extremely ethical person—even, some might say, to a fault. When I raise my hand to swear an oath, I mean it.  When I’m asked to respect rules and regulations, I do (just ask my schoolmates who teased me about being a “goody two-shoes” and a “teacher’s pet.”)  And if someone asked me to do something I knew in my bones was just plain wrong—like lying in an interview, or falsely claiming someone else’s idea was mine—I wouldn’t do it. Which is why I was really taken back when, at a conference at which I was …

Presentation Skills Training: Beige Doesn’t Read from the Stage

Eleni Kelakos presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching

If you’ve ever participated in one of my presentation skills training classes, you’ve heard me say the following words:  BAN WISHY WASHY!  I even reinforce this point by brandishing a sign on which the words WISHY WASHY are slashed through with a big red line.  That’s because, when it comes to public speaking, nothing galls me more than ho-hum, sorta-kinda-not-really-sure-what-I’ve decided-to-do-or-say-here moments.  Unfortunately, most of the presentations I see are full of wishy-washy, bland, or what I call beige moments. For those of you who don’t know what beige is, here’s a nifty definition from Merriam-Webster dictionary:  a variable color …

Presentation Skills Training: Five Benefits of Group Learning

Eleni Kelakos presentation skills training, public speaking training, speech coaching

I just finished facilitating a full-day Presentation Skills Training session—this one for a team of medical sales people at a bio-tech company—and am feeling exhausted but exhilarated. Exhausted, because, as usual, I gave it my all for seven hours, modeling an energized, in-the-moment, give-it-everything-you’ve-got presence for my attendees. Exhilarated, because I’d yet again witnessed the surprise, delight, and personal transformation that comes when human beings come face-to-face with obstacles—and then overcome them—in a group learning setting. Now, you may know me—and have perhaps even worked with me—as a coach who engages individually with thought leaders, business leaders and authors to …