Leaders can learn from TV anchors how to become fearless presenters

man standing in front of people

Analyzing and studying famous TV anchors, I understood that there is a winning circle that can, even if you commit some failures, make your presentations successful. I call it: «the vulnerable-empathic-fearless circle».

I learnt that skill from the most famous Portuguese TV anchor – Cristina Ferreira – when I saw her in Web Summit 2021 and from the Masterclass of the well famous American TV anchor Robin Roberts.

But before I reveal what is about the vulnerable-empathic-fearless circle, let me give you some background my interest on communication. The “Business Life Project” that I defined for year 2021 was «Communicate like a leader!». (Note: if you want to understand the meaning of “life projects” concept, I suggest that you read the Chapter 1 of the book “Project Your Life” that explains how to define My Fa-Bu-Lux life projects and if you don’t find the book, then don’t hesitate to get in contact with me, I can provide you a free sample related to that concept). My interest in improving my communication came from the year 2009. In that year, I was asked «Do you want to be a Project Manager?» On that day, after work, I thought a lot about that proposal: to be a Project Manager. I was organized and diligent but not good in communication. Do you know what project managers does much? More than 90% of what a project manager does is communicating. Can you guess what my decision was? Of course, I accepted the job, otherwise I would no have being here writing this article or having create the ProjectYourLife community. The reason why I accepted was, that the most a project manager do is, communicating; and I was poor in communication. It sounds like a contradiction right? The truth is that we have better chance to upgrade ourselves to a better version if we leave our “comfort zone” by accepting challenges, at a higher level, and being exposed in the field where we want to improve ourselves. My former boss in Germany called it – “train by the job!”

The picture below is a selfie that I took with Cristina Ferreira, considered the most successful TV anchor in Portugal, was taken in the Web Summit 2021. As I alredy informed in a linkedin post, this picture was not supposed to happen.

Myself and Cristina Ferreira in Web Summit 2021, Lisbon.

Cristina presentation was made to first connect and after deliver a powerful message to the audience. A presentation needs to be target to the audience. So, you need to know the audience (point 1) to whom you will deliver the presentation. For that, simply characterize the audience as a “persona”. Give a name to the group, define what the group is looking for and characterize.

Example: Creators (the “persona”), looking forward to be successful with their ideas (characteristic 1), that needs to accept failures (characteristic 2), be resilient and good advocates of their ideas and beliefs (characteristic 3). This process is embedded in the “Life Charter” that I created to support on life projects creation.

After that description, you can derive to the target message (point 2) you want to deliver. The message is created by outlining each take-away (point 3). Then, you just need a storyline that connects all the above points (point 4), providing connection and substance to the message. The storyline must become your “voice”. A storyline made of your own experiences to become authentic. As Cristina said, “the power of your truth is your voice”.

“The power of your truth is your voice” — Cristina Ferreira

The storyline from Cristina started by presenting her own failures, accepting them and moving forward. “Don’t be afraid, never!”, she said. Even if you don’t speak well (English) or don’t have the best voice, those are not ultimate problems to not perform a presentation. “The most important is what you say” your message – that can only be presented by one person – YOU!.

“Don’t be afraid, never!” “The most important is what you say”. — Cristina Ferreira

The picture below was taken from Robin Roberts masterclass, anchor from the TV show “Good Morning America”, called Robin Roberts Teaches Effective and Authentic Communication. This masterclass belongs to the platform where you can find other very interesting classes from other celebrities and related to other skills. It is such a nice platform for learning new skills that, in my first year subscription, I did 14 masterclasses that totalized 300 hours of learning from the best of the best.

Robin Roberts masterclass refers, in more details, what I described already above: the importance of knowing and engaging the audience and having a prepared script with your major ideas, that represent the outline and storyline of your message. But she also teaches some other important things about public speaking. She talks about the importance of boosting confidence before the presentation. For that, you can adopt a posture that itself gives self-confidence, like the superman or wonderwoman pose. She teach, as well, where to look and where not to look during a presentation. The message to deliver should be simple, with short phrases and quick personal stories in the middle. To make it well received, you must speak slowly, with some breaks, and highlighting the necessary take-aways.

Both Cristina and Robin are very talented in creating an “authentic connection”. I could feel it when I met Cristina. I asked her “Cristina, can I take a picture with you?”. She answered with a deep eye contact “Of corse Tiago!” Yes, she said my name! But how? She was quite fast to read it from my badge. The other super-skill that both have is to be fearless during the presentation and if something goes wrong, they don’t hesitate to talk about “the elephant in the room”. As Robin Roberts says in her masterclass, related to her cancer situation that challenged her success, the lesson that she took was “make your mess, your message”.

“Make your mess, your message.” — Robin Roberts

If you are someone that would like to give more presentations but somehow fears to be exposed to possible mistakes, then present like a television anchor. Be fearless and for any given mistake, show vulnerability, that would allows you to connect even further with the audience. Failing and showing vulnerability, can even be a presentation asset. I would even say that this is a winning circle:

  • If you don’t show any mistake, then technically it was perfect.
  • If you do some mistakes but you show, to the audience, your vulnerability situation by accepting them, then you create a deeper connection with the audience.

“Failing and showing vulnerability, can even be an asset. Therefore, be fearless in your presentations!” — ProjectYourLife

Take aways:

” With the vulnerable-empathic-fearless circle, as much failures you make on your presentation, more empathic to the audience it would be. If you manage that skill, at a certain time, you will become fearless on all your presentations”


21-days challenge:

  • Acquire the skill of being fearless in your presentations: . Here how:
    1. Be aware of your schedule and mails about an opportunity for you to present something;
    2. Study the audience;
    3. Derive to the target message that you want to convey your presentation
    4. Break it down by outlining each potential “take-away” sentence;
    5. Create the story-line that will connects all the outline points;
    6. Check the training material below to manage the “vulnerable-empathic-fearless circle”;
    7. Be fearless!


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