Speak with Authority, Concern and Enthusiasm: Be an ACE

podium-and-flagXSmallTo be successful in your career you need to master the ability to present your ideas and persuade others to your point of view. If you fail to do this you are likely to plateau and see others advance while you stall.

This skill helps you to make successful pitches of your ideas and opinions on the job, conduct engaging community outreach meetings and captivate the media when you do interviews.  Presentation chops let you shine as a leader in your organization.

A workshop or seminar format is a perfect place for aspiring leaders and executives to practice their ability to persuade an audience and elevate their presentation style. This article outlines a proven method I use for engaging leadership seminar participants: carve out time for on-camera presentation training.


Start with a review of the basics, tips and tricks about how to make your message count. Then comes the fun part: on-camera training. You’ll need a TV, a video camera with a microphone and a hat.

Establish a topic subject that everyone in the room has a reasonable base of knowledge on and ask everyone to write a question on the topic. Then they will all have to throw it in the hat. Next, you will pass out scorecards for them to grade each other and let the room know that everyone will pick one question from the hat and get a one-shot chance to answer it on camera, with you as the interviewer reserving the right to do a follow-up.

As their classmates/colleagues answer the questions this will go by quickly and you will engage everyone’s attention because they are asked to grade their peers,they are all curious about who will get the question they wrote down and they are on pins and needles anticipating how they’ll do.

I’ve tried doing this training the more traditional way where it is one-on-one with the facilitator running the show.  In my experience, it is an invitation for participants who are not in front of the camera to zone off into their own world. Engagement is a much more satisfying way to hook everyone in the learning experience.


The scorecard I use asks them to rank 1-5 for being an “ACE”, speaking with authority, concern and enthusiasm. The ACE technique comes from Roger Ailes, a former GOP Political Strategist who is now at the helm at Fox News. ACE sums up your presentation style. You speak with:

  • Authority: I know because I’m an expert
  • Concern: My subject matter is important to me and you
  • Enthusiasm: I’m glad to be here

At the end of each participant’s interview, play back the taped interviews and offer on-the-spot critiques. As the audience to weigh in with their own impressions of what worked and what didn’t.

After the last interview subject has their turn, poll the room to see who has the highest score and who is the ACE. If anyone on the individual score sheets has two or more people tied, ask them to pick their favorite – the person who stood out as memorable. Announce the winner, and perhaps honor the runner-ups. Have a schmaltzy prize to give them.

You’ll be surprised at how folks will internalize the lessons about what works with this exercise and the energy it brings to the room. Plus, more often than not, everyone seems to agree who the ACE is giving you a platform to reinforce what works and what doesn’t when it comes to presentations.


To me, leadership is an art form. To do it well you need to develop and practice presenting your ideas to live human beings to persuade them to your point of view. To get ahead, you must master this skill. A workshop with on-camera presentation training is a wonderful place to get some no-risk practice at doing it well.