Creating Leadership Presence: Be Positive, Dynamic and Authentic

How many leaders and speakers have you listened to? Probably in the thousands.  Of these leaders how many left you wanting more or generated a buzz or the “wow” factor?  I’ve asked my students and seminar audiences this question for many years.  Their answer is that you can count them on one hand.  The critical question becomes—What makes these leaders outstanding?  Above all else people want leaders who are  believable and credible. We want to believe that their words can be trusted. We want to believe they are intelligent ( both IQ and EQ), knowledgable and possess the skills to lead. The following components make up Leadership Presence, Dynamism and Inspiration the critical keys to effective leadership:

  • They have executive presence—relaxed open posture, firm hand shake, good eye contact, appropriate attire for the situation, smile, sense of humor and send-off a positive and natural energy—leading to perceived confidence, credibility and competence.
  • They are perceived as authentic  approachable, inspirational, and connect in unique ways
  • They deliver a clear, concise, relevant, and believable message with enthusiasm and dynamism
  • Their message is compelling, memorable and leads to positive action and results.

I want you to consider how your thoughts, mental frameworks, and assumptions affect others perception of you as a leader. I want you to learn how to align your message, mental attitude, and mechanics, so as not just survive a presentation, but to create an environment that is meaningful, inspirational, persuasive, and compelling for listeners. In addition when ever you communicate we want you to gain in confidence and continue to improve and grow as an effective leader. Our goal is to create a learning environment that facilitates the growth and development of leaders by increasing their executive presence and the ability to be confident communicators.

We know that future behavior can be improved by modeling people we admire, focusing on openness to feedback, a commitment to practicing the right skills, and learning from experience.

There are a few tools and techniques when used can help you to develop new and effective habits of communicating.

The “big idea” I am talking about when looking at the way we communicate and interact is leadership based on presence, inspiration and dynamism .  Leaders lead with their ideas, words, and presence. The way people speak and deliver words of praise or criticism reveals their values, beliefs and philosophy of life. It is the essence of leadership.  This is what I call the “leadership effect”.  The “leadership effect” holds that leaders are evaluated by the sincerity, realism, authenticity, and relevance of their communications not by their place on the organization chart.

Like it or not, our self-awareness, mental presence, confidence (mental state), eloquent mechanics (voice, gestures, movement, body language, eye contact), and messages (verbal impact) decide how we are received and perceived by others. Leaders influence action through the art and mastery of thinking and speaking straight and naturally.

Tips for Creating Executive Presence, Inspiration and Dynamism

  1. Analyze and know your audience.  Gather information on the needs and expectations of your listeners; to make your presentation interesting and appealing to them.  What are their expectations?  What are their attitudes toward you, your team, or your topic?
  2. Keep your Significant Overriding Goal (SOG) clearly in mind.  Is your goal to tell and present information or to persuade a committee or person to adopt and support your proposal?
  3. Formula for success –Magic # 7 Determine 3-5 chunks of information for each sub-presentation goal; identify what needs to be presented to make goals believable and compelling; organize material and pick your team’s preferred style for presentation, (one/two people, whole team with different sections, present from behind lectern or seated at round table, etc.)
  4. Get to the point. What are the key points you will make?  How do you want to say them?  What graphics will be used i.e., flip charts, PowerPoint, or a combination?  Keep visual aids simple and to the point.  Do you have any written material, handouts or tangibles to show audience?
  5. Support major points with solid evidence and exciting stories. Use examples, facts, and stories this makes the presentation dynamic.
  6. Organize and tell in a logical structure. State the problem, then your solution.  Weigh the pros and cons of your proposal.  Go from general to specific.  Build from simple ideas to complex ones.
  7. Make you message clear, compelling, and consistent with the facts and your emotions .
  8. Sustain comfortable eye contact with the audience members.  Use the“one thought –one person” technique.  Use natural gestures to emphasize key points.  Monitor gestures such as maintaining good posture when speaking.  Remove all keys and other materials from pockets. Lean forward while speaking.
  9. Close with energy and call for action

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