There has been so much written about the recent US Presidential campaign, the shock result and the divided opinions of many. One constant opinion though is that Barack Obama and First Lady, Michelle Obama will be sorely missed. You may have a differing opinion about policy and effectiveness of the President’s time in office but you cannot question the poise and elegance these two brought to the world stage.
I wrote of Obama’s poise when he was newly elected 44th President of the United States and at the time mentioned former Australian Prime Minister, Paul Keating saying in an article in The Australian, “One of the attributes that sets Obama apart is his poise.” What is poise? How can we get it?
According to various dictionaries poise means calm self-assured dignity, ease of manner and assurance,especially in dealing with social situations. Also, a graceful controlled way of standing, moving or performing in action. Equilibrium, a stable state of balance. Going further into the Thesaurus these words and phrases come up also, mental poise, intelligence and wisdom. Poise is a very desirable personal brand attribute. Here are a few tips to help you include and exude this trait into your personal brand.
Self confidence. Displaying self-confidence and self-assurance is easier said than done. However, a leader or someone in control shows re-assurance to others. They take an interest, listen and make the first move to initiate conversation, putting other people at ease. Obama uses encouraging words of hope and a future to look forward to. He has a warm, genuine smile. His words, actions and manner are comforting and reassuring.
Speak well with composure. Not all of us need or have the opportunity to make a public speech. If we did, we could certainly learn many lessons from Obama. Most importantly to be well prepared and well practiced. I’m certain he didn’t write a few notes on the back of his hand and just “wing it”. In fact, he has been learning the craft of public speaking for many years and so can you. Even if you just speak up in meetings or conference calls, being at ease in these situations is the sign of control and confidence. Having a powerful, persuasive voice helps. Again, this trait can be developed through being aware of what your voice sounds like, eliminating the ums and ahhs, you knows and perhaps getting some voice coaching.
Well mannered. A leader of Obama’s calibre has impeccable manners. He mixes with the well-to-do, moneyed people of Washington who helped fund his campaign. He also dealt with Kings and Queens and Heads of State and did so with courtesy and stateliness. A Commander in Chief of a country or perhaps just You Inc. understands and displays correct business and social protocol.
Carriage and demeanour. Obama wears clothes well. Of course, so does First Lady Michelle Obama who graced many covers of magazines. They both choose classic and elegant styles. Mr Obama is more conservative and classic befitting his role while Mrs Obama adds a stylish twist to her dressing. They both show great posture walking tall and with dignity. Yes, they both have great figures, but no matter what your size or shape, dressing well is a skill that can be learned and should be practiced.
Cool. What makes someone cool or have charisma? Perhaps this is an elusive quality. But I think it’s about being a leader that people want to follow no matter what field of endeavour. It is standing out in a fresh, modern way with a sense of calmness and composure. What do you think?
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Read last week’s blog Is Personal Branding and Public Relations Passé?