Whether you are new to your job, or a seasoned pro, continuous learning is the name of the game - if you want to stay on top.

In my presentation trainings, I often work with mixed groups. Some folks have been with the organization for 20 years or more. Others were just hired the week before.

When this is the case, I find many executives prefer to watch and wait.

This could be because executives don't want to appear vulnerable, foolish or unknowledgeable about professional standards. Or it could be that they are facilitating the other participants. They know that others will defer to them, out of politeness or deference to their status.

These senior leaders often hold back in public, but ask me questions in private. On a break. When the other people step out of the room.

This may be helpful for newly hired employees. But it could also be unnecessary.

If you are a leader or executive in your organization, I encourage you to speak openly. Do this in training situations, in presentations and in meetings.

Here's why:

You're modeling an important leadership behavior.

By showing others that you don't 'know it all' you are showing them that it's good to be humble. It's good to admit when you don't know something - so you can learn. You are modeling true leadership by showing your personal vulnerability and willingness to learn.

This may seem to go against the grain. It may seem even counter-intuitive, especially if you were taught to exhibit leadership in a traditional setting. However, instead of making you appear weak or foolish, you show up as stronger and more approachable.

Also, even if you don't speak, newer employees are likely to hold back. They may feel uncertain or cautious. They are waiting to 'see how things work around here.' By not speaking openly in public, you are showing them through your actions that public expression is not safe.

This is likely to be the opposite of what you intended to do!

In short, whether in trainings, meetings or group presentations, be open. Share your opinions. Let others speak. And listen carefully. This is a much more powerful way of letting people know that you value open and authentic communication.

Still, it can be challenging to take these lessons and use them on a daily basis. If this is true for you, bite off small chunks. Make a commitment to focus on one thing at a time - until you nail it.

For instance:

• Speak honestly and openly in groups
• Ask for input and comments
• Practice listening closely to input
• Don't finish other people's sentences
• Respond to questions no matter who asks

When you break down big ideas about executive presenting into small steps you can take on a daily basis, it's a lot easier to make change happen.

Get exceptional results in your executive presentations by telling simple, easy-to-understand stories. Discover how to speak openly and immediately connect with each audience.

Author's Bio: 

Milly Sonneman is a recognized expert in visual language. She is the co-director of Presentation Storyboarding, a leading presentation training firm, and author of the popular guides: Beyond Words and Rainmaker Stories available on Amazon. Milly helps business professionals give winning presentations, through online presentation skills trainings at Presentation Storyboarding. You can find out more about our courses or contact Milly through our website at: http://www.presentationstoryboarding.com/