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Want to make an impression? Then understand the audience

Communications experts say preparation, practice, introspection is key for executives seeking to improve public presentation

Sept. 8, 2017
By Walt Williams

Most association leaders are not just expected to run multi-million dollar organizations—they’re hired to be spokespeople for the industries their groups represent. But that role is one many executives often take for granted.

Ernie Rosenberg, retired CEO of the American Cleaning Institute, managed successfully not to be one of them. Among other practices, he and his staff would hold practice panels before congressional testimonies to rehearse responses. But regardless of the situation, he always kept a set of rules in mind when addressing others.

“The trick for association executives—and not necessarily just the CEO—is to adapt to your audience, to adapt to the amount of time you have, and not to get driven just by your audience’s agenda. You also want to make sure you are getting the message you want to get across,” he said.