MINNEAPOLIS, Jan. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- "Of the 22 Fortune 100 companies we contacted, 20 companies specifically said their board members actively use iPads during their board meetings," says Anett D. Grant, president of Executive Speaking, Inc., a global speaking company founded in 1979.
"While there are significant security and privacy issues that have to be managed with iPad technology – such as who gets access to what information and when – what really matters," says Grant, "is the impact iPads are having on the communication in the meetings themselves. How do you keep directors 'on the same page' when they have access to multiple pages, multiple distractions, and urgent messages?"
While some consultants such as Joe Ruch, CEO of BoardVantage, recommend focusing on applications that take maximum advantage of rich graphics and animation features of the iPad to improve directors' entire boardroom experience, Grant believes the challenge extends way beyond downloading the next flashiest PowerPoint app. "The real challenge for leaders presenting to the board," says Grant "is how to engage and capture attention – how to keep board members connected with the messages, not absorbed in flashing pictures."
To truly engage and involve board members in this iPad era, Grant believes board presenters will have to get beyond the shift in media and face the more significant shifts in mindsets in how to prepare and deliver messages.
"One of the most significant mindset shifts is organization of information. In the past, leaders could follow a linear sequential model – lining up information like boxcars on a train. Today, leaders need to flow with a more dynamic modular structure – like airplanes connecting to a point of orientation. Leaders presenting today have to be prepared to shuffle the order of information and adjust the level of detail on the fly," says Grant. "While the demand for flexibility in boardroom presentations is not new, the instantaneous demands are unprecedented."
"Another one of the mindset shifts is terms of style. In the past, leaders often stood and presented the data in well-rehearsed rhetoric. Today, leaders often sit and engage in a discussion of meaning – fewer and fewer slides, more and more probing questions. One of the factors driving these discussions is the increasing expertise of the board members themselves. For example, according to the 2013 Spencer Stuart Board Index, active or retired CFOs, treasurers, and financial executives chair 23% of audit committees of S&P 500 companies, up from only 4% in 2003."
"Another one of the mindset shifts is in terms of establishing leadership presence – 'gravitas.' In the past, leaders focused on developing a strong visual, physical presence. Today, leaders need to develop a strong vocal presence. Projecting authority in the boardroom is no longer about standing with balance, striding with purpose, and gesturing with conviction," says Grant. "The challenge today is to speak with resonance, fluency, clarity, color, and warmth. Quality of speaking is taking on new dimension and meaning. Leaders presenting have to connect with board members who have heads down, not eyes up. 'Ahs,' 'ers,' and 'you knows' can be career killers, communicating lack of confidence and indecisiveness." And given the fact that the 2013 Spencer Stuart Board Index reports 97% of boards get to know candidates through regular interactions during board meetings and presentations, "Your sound of leadership," says Grant, "now has tremendous impact in terms of your success in achieving your leadership goals."
By recognizing and embracing these mindset shifts, leaders can command the attention of their board members, increase their engagement, an impact the decisions that are vital to their corporations today and ensure the succession of their leadership for tomorrow.
To further discuss the impact of the iPad infiltration, call Anett D. Grant, President, Executive Speaking, Inc. at 612-338-5748.
Executive Speaking, Inc. coaches leaders from around the globe from companies including General Electric Company, PepsiCo, Inc., General Mills, Inc., Bank of America Corporation, 3M Company, Coca-Cola Company, SABIC, Microsoft Corporation, Pfizer, Inc., DHL Express, National Public Radio, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., MasterCard, Inc., Medtronic, Inc., BP, Ralph Lauren, Humana, Inc., Consolidated Edison, Inc., Nestle, HanesBrands, Inc., Estee Lauder Companies, Inc., The Sherwin-Williams Company, FedEx Corporation, Symantec Corporation, Adobe Systems, Inc., and SABMiller.
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SOURCE Executive Speaking, Inc.