Want to bring a CEO to his knees?

Exec Pleading

Point a camera at him.

I have to admit, I used to get more than a little confused when I would get called to produce a company-wide global message from the CEO of a large company. Usually, someone in PR or Human Resources would set it up and get the shoot on his or her calendar. But when I arrive and start setting up, the fun begins. Or not. Flop sweat. In buckets.

You would think it was 11:59 on death row, judging from the reactions I get from these captains of industry when that red tally light activates on my camera. Most company leaders are usually never lost for words, but they lose them quickly when they are being captured for posterity.

This is their big opportunity to reach their world with clarity and empathy. Beats hanging around airports doesn’t it? This is the way to go but it can’t be an afterthought.

“I suck at this.” “I’m no good on camera.  I don’t have time, really. I think I have a meeting somewhere. Oh, no, who told you to do this?”

They get dry mouth, blotchy, sweaty and can’t concentrate. 15 takes later, reading words they wrote themselves from a teleprompter, it finally comes together. When every word counts, teleprompters are critical. They’re not just for politicians. Most clients never prepare and have to be told what the subject matter is and where it’s going.

There can be lots of tension, temperament and temperatures rising during these sessions, because in spite of what they think is good enough, I can’t let them out of that room until I get what I came for. The real deal. The on camera capture of the real person. The person who provides the almost spiritual leadership that needs to transcend that piece of glass and will have to serve as the next best thing to being there.

Sadly, not everyone gets how important it is. It can take a lot of cajoling, cheer leading and changes in scripts and delivery to move their intended audiences.

And so it goes: natural born leaders, symbols of inspiration, vision providers and battle tested veterans of M&As, hostile takeovers, layoffs, downsizing. and product recalls, wither under the demand for an on camera interview or presentation.

I have heard this all before ad nauseam and I will say this: Captain, you have nowhere left to run. This is your opportunity to jump through that lens and shake up the world. It takes practice, though. (I can help)

Coaching, resolve and dammit, gumption. We are not just international anymore, we are global. Let that run over your tongue a few times. Global. Your impact needs to be felt up close and personal. Can’t phone it in these days. Get over it! Please. 🙂

Screen Shot 2015-03-26 at 9.53.34 AMMaybe if you had this guy pointing a camera at you, you might get a little tense, too!

If you have any questions or need advice, please feel free to reach out to me here.

Bob O’Hearn

113 Wintergreen Lane
Groton Ma. 01450

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Please note: I welcome comments that are offensive, illogical or off-topic from readers in all states of consciousness.

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