Today, I am truly excited to introduce to you, Kate LeVan, the author of “Speaking With Strategic Impact”, a powerful self-help and business non-fiction book, that is a must read for anyone who wants step up their game in the business world. I am happy to share with you an interview with the Author, as well as a Giveaway which you can find – as always – at the end of the post. Enjoy!
Me: Who should read your book?
Kate: Perhaps not all business people need to read my book, but I do think it casts a pretty wide net.
It’s specially written for all the subject matter experts (or SMEs) who aspire to lead at any level. They may be management consultants, financial analysts, human resource professionals, technologists, researchers, project management professionals, scientists, engineers, innovators—you get the idea. They’re the people who provide the insights, build the systems and processes, generate change and get things done in business.
Not all of them may think of themselves as leaders; but if they want their ideas, input, strategies, systems or products to see the light of day, “knowing their stuff” is just the price of admission. At some point, they need to learn a skill set no one ever told them was mission critical: presenting themselves and their ideas with presence and persuasion. That’s where this book can help them influence their organizations and their careers.
Me: There are lots of books about presenting out there. What makes yours unique?
Kate: True. But often, the folks I’m addressing have an analytical streak—their strength is in the details and depth of knowledge they bring to their subject. They are thoughtful people who plan, but may be accused of not being “strategic” enough. They are passionate about what they do, but may not know how to ignite interest in others. They are as stimulated as much as anyone by high-concept TED Talks, but probably wouldn’t seek out a stage and might prefer to just send an email or submit a document, thank you very much.
For these people, books listing tips and tricks—that exhort them to Be yourself!, Tell a story!, Show your Passion!—only serve to remind them of what they consider most risky and think they can’t do. On the other hand, the arcane technical templates and checklists they are more drawn to only serve to keep them tied up in tweaking slides instead of influencing the people in front of them.
Experts like these have told me over the years that my simple, four-step approach to keeping them focused on who it is they’re talking to is invaluable. It tells them where to start and what to focus on, what to avoid as well as why they should do things and how. For instance, in the book, I talk less about constructing slides, and more about why you use them and how to interact with them so as not to lose your audience. Once you understand this, you can choose or create visuals that really “aid” an audience and you. So, I’m outlining a professional discipline in the book that’s “elastic” enough to apply to most business interactions throughout their careers. Even better, it’s a thin volume that fits in a briefcase and can be read in the time it takes you to fly across the country!
Me: How did you research your book?
Kate: I train and coach business people in executive development programs sponsored by corporate clients and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. I’ve done some form of this work for 20 years now; and I estimate I’ve probably seen, given feedback on, or helped develop at least 2,000 business presentations! This is the experience and research that is at the core of the book. So it’s peppered with lots of examples.
Beyond this, I think my previous life as a marketing and advertising executive has contributed to my approach in no small way. Basically, the professional discipline I recommend is as much grounded in good marketing strategy as it is in good communication behaviors and tactics. I don’t just try to get a scientist or engineer to have better eye contact, I try to help them perceive the fact that they have a sales job to do that requires more than submitting a 50-page deck of slides if they ever want to see the corporation fund their project!
Me: What was the hardest part or biggest challenge you had in writing this book?
Kate: I would say the tactical chapters on structure and delivery. There are so many ways you could say something and techniques you can use. In the end, I decided to provide a few core tools and skills right out of my training and to discuss the strategy behind using them, so that readers gain a flexibility in applying them. I also included answers to 15 FAQs that I commonly field in my training programs that should help too.
Look, I know as well as anyone that reading about eye contact or movement techniques doesn’t replace what demonstration and exercises in a training or coaching context can do. But knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing is a part of mastering something, so I think there’s value in business people reading and reflecting on these things as part of their professional development.
Me: What’s the most important piece of advice you can give to business presenters/speakers?
Kate: To focus on the audience, instead of yourself, while preparing for an interaction as well as while you’re in it. It’s not easy to do. It’s human nature to make a presentation or meeting, or interview about ourselves and what we want to get out of it or what we dread might happen. That’s why having a professional discipline to default to helps. But remembering this one rule holds the key to engaging an audience, influencing people, deciding what slides to create, as well as how to look and feel more confident while you’re doing it.
Me: What’s your favorite travel spot?
Kate: That’s an easy one! My husband and I have a place on a small lake in Michigan. Whenever we can—any time of year—we pack up the dog and cat and go there to decompress, contemplate nature, entertain friends and yes, even write!
Thank you, Kate for this awesome interview!
Book Title: Speaking with Strategic Impact: Four Steps to Extraordinary Presence & Persuasion
Author: Kate LeVan
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 152 pages
Publisher: Delton Press
Release date: May 24, 2017
Tour dates: June 12 to 30, 2017
Content Rating: G
Speaking with Strategic Impact is for business people who make their living—or their mark—through presentations long and short.
It’s a must-read if you’re a consultant, analyst, pitch team leader, roadshow executive, technology specialist, project manager, internal or external marketer, sales rep, subject matter expert or innovator.
Do your presentations unexpectedly fall flat? Do others hijack your meetings? Do you spend more time compiling slide decks than actually influencing decision-makers? Has someone vaguely told you that you “should look more confident up there” or that you “lack gravitas”? Have you watched TED Talks but wonder how you can bring that level of effectiveness into real business presentations?
Speaking with Strategic Impact gives you the key to leadership presence and persuasion. More than just tips and tricks, it outlines a discipline for navigating real business situations with consistently superior outcomes that’s favored by top business schools and Fortune 500 companies. You’ll get specific strategic and tactical advice to keep you on the mark in your presentations and meetings—and differentiate you from the vast majority of business presenters.
Read Speaking with Strategic Impact to master the means by which you make a living and a difference in the world!