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IACE Spontaneous Communication – Leadership Executive Presence For Unplanned Questions & Conversations

Rohit Bassi has been given the title of "The Communication Wizard." He assists clients in improving careers, businesses, and lives.

 

In my coaching adventures with leaders such as C-Suite executives, Directors, Board Members and Managers, a common concern often arises. This is a top priority and critical for most of them.

 

Photo of muay-thai boxer and his coach inside the ring

That being feeling nervous, uncomfortable, overthinking, fumbling, anxiety or experiencing brain freeze or brain fog when faced with spontaneous questions or conversations, especially from senior leaders or people of authority. This pain also arises during networking meetings or social gatherings.


To address this, I developed a practical framework through these coaching engagements. They ensure you to respond with courage, clarity, conviction, and compassion. Introducing the IACE Model—your guide to navigating these high-pressure moments with outstanding executive presence.

 

The four Cs of wholesome communication

 

Courage

Courage allows you to face uncertainty and respond honestly, even when you don't have all the answers. It involves acknowledging the situation, staying calm, and being transparent about your need for more information.

 

Clarity

Clarity ensures your message is understood. By connecting the conversation to your knowledge and sharing relevant insights, you avoid confusion and provide valuable information, making your communication straightforward and effective.


Conviction

Conviction demonstrates confidence and belief in your message. When you speak with conviction, you show that you stand by your words, which builds trust and respect with your audience.


Compassion

Compassion fosters a positive and empathetic interaction. By engaging with empathy and appreciation, you show respect for the speaker’s perspective and contribute to a constructive and respectful dialogue.

 

The IACE model

The IACE Model is a four-step approach designed to help you respond effectively and confidently to spontaneous questions and engage in meaningful conversations. These are the four steps of being IACE (Inhale. Acknowledge. Connect. Engage):

 

Inhale (I)

Inhaling deeply helps to calm your nervous system, reducing stress and anxiety. This moment of pause allows you to gather your thoughts and focus on the present situation. The use of wholesome body language further enhances your presence and confidence, conveying sincerity and openness.

 

Stay calm: Begin by taking a deep breath to remain calm and focused. This helps manage nerves and provides a moment to think.


Centre yourself: Use this moment to focus and stay present in the conversation or response.


Body language: Use confident and open body language:


  • Place a hand on your heart to convey sincerity.

  • Use the staple position of hands to show confidence.

  • Open your arms to appear approachable and open.

 

Example:


  • Inhale deeply and exhale slowly.

  • Place your hand on your heart, use the staple position, or open your arms.

 

Acknowledge (A)

Acknowledging the question/ conversation as it shows respect and attentiveness towards the speaker. It validates their input, making them feel heard and valued. Honesty in admitting gaps in your knowledge, coupled with confidence, builds trust and demonstrates integrity.

 

Recognise the question or speaker: Show appreciation for the question or the speaker's input. This demonstrates respect and attentiveness.

 

Be honest with confidence: If you're unsure about something, admit it confidently and express a willingness to learn more or follow up.

 

Example:


  • “Thank you for bringing this up, it’s a crucial point.”

  • “I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, they are valuable.”

 

Connect (C)

Connecting the question or conversation to something you know helps you stay grounded and relevant. It allows you to share valuable insights and demonstrates your engagement and expertise. This step bridges the gap between what you know and the current discussion, making your response more meaningful.

 

Relate to what you know: Link the question or conversation to a topic or area where you have more knowledge or experience. This shows that you are engaged and provides a relevant perspective.

 

Share relevant information: Provide insights or information that are relevant to the question or conversation. This helps to keep the discussion meaningful and informative.

 

Example:


  • “From my know how about [related area] at the moment, I can share that…”

  • “From my experience with [related area], we’ve found that…”


Engage (E)

Engaging by committing to finding the answer or continuing the dialogue shows your dedication and responsibility. Setting a clear timeline for follow-up ensures accountability and keeps the conversation productive. Expressing empathy and appreciation fosters a positive relationship and shows that you value the interaction.

 

Commit to finding the answer or continuing the dialogue: Show dedication by offering to find more information or continue the conversation at a later time.

 

Set a timeline for follow-up: If applicable, give a clear timeframe for when you will follow up with more information or continue the discussion.


Express empathy and appreciation: Show understanding of the speaker’s perspective and appreciation for their contribution.

 

Example:


  • “I will gather the necessary information and get back to you by tomorrow afternoon.”

  • “I appreciate your patience and the opportunity to delve deeper into this topic.”

 

Applying the IACE model to spontaneous questions

When faced with a spontaneous question from a senior leader or person of authority, follow the IACE steps:

 

Inhale: Take a deep breath and focus. Use positive body language.


Example: “Inhale deeply and exhale slowly. Place your hand on your heart.”

 

Acknowledge: Thank the person for their question and recognise its importance.


Example: “Thank you for your question, Ms. Tran. It’s a very relevant and important point.”

 

Connect: Relate the question to something you know and share relevant insights.


Example: “Let me get back to you with specific details. In the meantime, focusing on [related area], my understanding, knowledge and experience is...”

 

Engage: Offer to find the answer and follow up, setting a clear timeline.


Example: “I will ensure to gather the necessary information and get back to you by tomorrow afternoon. I appreciate your patience and the opportunity to provide a thorough answer.”


Applying the IACE model to conversations 

When engaging in a conversation with a person of authority, follow the IACE steps:

 

Inhale: Begin with a deep breath to stay calm and focused. Use positive body language.

Example: “Inhale deeply and exhale slowly. Place your hand on your heart.”

 

Acknowledge: Show appreciation for the speaker’s input and recognise its value.

Example: “Thank you for sharing your thoughts, they are valuable.”

 

Connect: Link the conversation to your knowledge and share relevant information.

Example: “The specific details I will need to get back to you on that and from my experience with [related area], Mr. Ghandour we’ve found that…”

 

Engage: Commit to continuing the dialogue, providing follow-up as needed, and express empathy and appreciation.


Example: “Let’s explore this further. I’ll gather more information and we can continue this conversation tomorrow. I appreciate your patience and your input.”

 

Remember for IACE (Inhale. Acknowledge. Connect. Engage)

 

  • Deep listening: Fully focus on the speaker without thinking about your response. This ensures you understand their perspective fully.

  • Empathy: Approach both spontaneous questions and conversations with empathy, considering the speaker’s feelings and viewpoints.

  • Feed forward loop: Reflect on your performance after interactions to identify strengths and areas for improvement.

 

By using the IACE model, you can navigate spontaneous questions and conversations with confidence, ensuring your communication is effective, respectful, and impactful. This model is not only useful for high-pressure situations but also for everyday interactions, helping you build stronger connections and demonstrate your capability as a leader.


 

Rohit Bassi, ROI Talks

Rohit Bassi has been given the title of "The Communication Wizard." He assists clients in improving careers, businesses, and lives. He does this by serving leaders, teams, and change-makers to be wise and impactful with their communication.

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