Woodrow Wilson famously said about speaking….”If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation; if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days; if an hour, I am ready now.”
As a rule, the longer one speaks about something is usually a good indicator of the less they know about it OR that they have been undisciplined about preparation. Leaders can truly fall into the trap of “winging it”, especially with employees below them….because they can. In some ways, it is an abuse of power to stand in front of people as their leader without achieving clarity of thought or without developing skill to bring the message forward in a simple and powerful way. Everyone may not be born an effective presenter but anyone can become one. It’s those that don’t take it seriously who are the great offenders, who shortcut the thoughtfulness that these types of situations deserve.
While I don’t recommend many “training” courses for executives, I do believe that presentation and media training can make a world of difference, particularly if done with intact executive teams. Honing both the message and the skills can be a powerful tool to lead the company.