Leadership in Action: Cindy Skalicky
Updated: May 30, 2019
Cindy Skalicky is Founder and Head Coach at On Point Communications. She shares how she's using tools learned from Crafted Leadership to support clients.
As a public speaking coach, I help speakers perfect their messaging in a variety of settings: investor pitches and competitions, partnership meetings, keynotes, networking and those critical one-on-one conversations. I’m always looking to fold valuable concepts into my coaching that are easy for clients to grasp and apply right away.
One of the hardest things for people to do well when it comes to public speaking and storytelling is to tap into and develop the emotional language that connects them to their audiences. Also, speakers need to know how to answer questions at the end of a presentation and maintain good flow during interpersonal conversations. Most people can get by, but if these skills can truly be mastered, the results - in more investment dollars, contracts, or job offers - can be realized.
I took Crafted Leadership’s Lead by Design leadership course and gained several skills that I now use in support of my clients. Ultimately, the skills are helping me to be a better coach. In particular, the art of the toss and the emotional intelligence practices have been useful.
Tossing a ball back and forth in an even rhythm is a great analogy for conversation flow. The art of the toss has been a quick way to help clients visualize how to balance the conversation so it’s not just one-way or imbalanced. The steps I learned in the course to keep the conversation going are easy for clients to apply. Most importantly, they work.
The emotional literacy work we did in the course is also proving helpful to my work with clients. To become a truly great speaker, one must learn the art of vulnerability, especially when telling stories. Speakers can’t do that well unless they can expose a little of their emotional state and share it with the audience. When done well, audiences leave feeling that they got to know the speaker in a personal way, and an important relationship has begun.
Crafted Leadership teaches people how to understand and articulate their emotions. Another tactic I’ve brought into my work is to stop speakers at certain points as we’re crafting the message. I ask them to tell me how they feel and why. I help them make that feeling come alive during their talk. They slow down, use carefully selected adjectives to describe it, and it comes across as though they are letting the audience ‘behind the veil’ - letting them into a part of their life that is personal to them. Audiences often walk away feeling more connected to the speaker - they learned information they feel privileged, maybe even lucky, to know.
Integrating the art of the toss and the emotional intelligence skills and practices I learned in Lead by Design has helped me increase clients’ awareness and abilities in communication. These skills support them to maximize the moment they have in front of others - where in a crowd or one person. As an example of impact, a client shared with me recently:
“Cindy: Today went great! My 30 second pitch was perfect, and I walked out with actual investor leads. I have two hot ones and four warm ones ...The investor conversations were very valuable. Thank you for your excellent coaching!”
Ultimately, integrating these tools gets clients closer to message mastery and persuasiveness.
If YOU have stories of inspiring leadership in action, we'd love to hear them; email Nancy.