Thursday, October 1, 2015

Power up Your Leadership Presence

When you walk through someone’s door or they walk through yours, your image and presence has an immediate impact. This executive presence has been a recent hot topic as the result of a survey and book published by New York’s Center for Talent Innovation. According to the results of the survey, to demonstrate executive presence you must have three key characteristics. Gravitas, Communication excellence and a pleasing Appearance. Or I like to call it the ABC’s of appearance, behaviour and communication. This is not news – it’s a subject that has been around a long time. I remember “back in the day” learning about these traits at what was called modelling and deportment schools.

Leadership presence is about harnessing these characteristics with intelligence to create an impactful personal brand and have influence with others. To portray the core components of executive presence – here are some LEADER tips.

L is for the LOOK of a leader. How you appear through your dress and style. Are you putting consistent intention into your image and visual signature? Leadership style needs to be congruent with the work you do. What is appropriate for a CEO speaking at a city conference would be different to a leader in a rural community addressing a group of farmers. Combine what is appropriate for your environment with awareness of your audience to create a convincing and compelling look.

E is to ENGAGE as a leader. Personal branding is about connecting emotionally. How do you connect with others through emotion? Is your communication and presentation style attracting, inspiring, supporting and influencing others? Can you portray leadership authority through clear, compelling and concise communication? Being able to inspire an audience through delivering a clear speech and engage through storytelling is a vital characteristic of leadership presence. 

A is ACT as a leader. Everything you say, do and the way you behave speaks volumes about your personal brand. Is your body language and non-verbal communication such as eye contact and handshake supporting youor subtracting from your essence? Gravitas is a buzz word due to the survey and book on executive presence. Awareness of correct professional behaviour, manners and charismatic engagement with others is the top trait of those who stand out as leaders.

D is DISCERN.  A discerning leadership brand is to understand how you come across and practice insight into your own behaviour. Do a personal brand audit to understand your positive qualities and strengths and get feedback from others to understand their perceptions of you and your brand. Observe others who display the qualities of a leader and consciously consider their characteristics that stand out and shine.

E is to EVOLVE. Continuous learning and application of leadership traits will help you grow and evolve into your potential over time. Dale Carnegie’s breakthrough book, How to Win Friends and Influence People was one of the first manifestos on developing your potential and presence. Numerous books of course have been written over the years where you can learn more and apply to your own development.

R is RESONATE as a leader. Actors are taught to command a stage and audience through projecting a clear, resounding voice. Tune in to the sound of your voice. Monotone, dull delivery, excitable chatter or sentences ending in upward inflections won’t assist in conveying verbal clarity and conciseness of a leader. It is said that Margaret Thatcher, consciously dropped her voice an octave to sound more authoritative during her time as Prime Minister of England.

If you look like a leader, act professionally and have clear, compelling communication, your audience will treat you with respect and perceive you as a person of authority.

If you would like help to formulate your executive leadership presence please contact us. 

In my free eBook The Power of Personal Public Relations I write more about image and building your brand. Download your copy here

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Read last week’s blog Top 10 Tips To PR Success

Sue Currie is a personal branding specialist providing solutions to business owners and organisations to boost their image, renown, brand and business. Through speaking, corporate workshops, and consulting, Sue helps businesses and individuals to stand out and shine.

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