We know it when someone has it, yet it remains difficult for us to pinpoint what exactly it is.
Leadership presence is something that all managers aspire to possess and they know that having this “X factor” means that they are able to command an audience simply by walking into a room. It is a quality that makes others sit up and take notice of you and be receptive to what you have to say.
As a new manager, how can you establish your leadership presence in meetings?
Here are 4 strategies to enhance your leadership presence in meetings:
Leaders tend to solicit the views of other group members early in the meeting. First, this shows that they have been paying attention to what is going on and demonstrates interest in the subject at hand. This is consistent with the fact that good leaders possess active listening skills. Rather than wait for others to get started with asking questions, by asking questions early themselves, this means that they have less time to generate self-doubt. As advertising executive David Ogilvy puts it, “When you advertise fire-extinguishers, open with the fire”. You have only 30 seconds in a television commercial to grab attention. The same applies to a presentation. How you speak in the first 30 seconds is crucial as this is when your audience forms an impression of you. Thus, by speaking up early, you will make a better impression of yourself in the eyes of the higher management in the meeting.
2. Give informed, objective opinions.
Leaders do their research on the issues on the agenda. They aim to see issues from both sides of the coin and seek to understand when there are alternative or opposing views. When they do give their views, they express themselves with confidence and offer well-informed opinions. They are able to substantiate their argument with evidence and research done beforehand.
How do you give informed opinions? Here are some pointers to note:
a) Explore others’ opinions with an open and non-judgemental mind
As humans, we often tend to take sides with what we are already familiar with and disagree with new concepts or things that are relatively unknown. At work, think about the various stakeholders and what their interests are to understand the differing perspectives. You do not need to analyse all the stakeholders’ concerns, but a reasonably balanced opinion includes the majority of that diverse work population.
b) Ask probing questions
Do not merely ask “why” as you delve into the subject matter. Ask “what else?” and “what if?”, even though the original or proper answer may be acceptable and logical. By asking “how else?” you are then generating alternatives to your initial ideas and suggestions. These questions are called probing questions as they demand that you inquire deep into the matter instead of only thinking about the usual possibilities. This may allow you to relate to others’ possible viewpoints in a more meaningful way as you have considered thinking differently from your usual routine.
c) Demonstrate dynamic non-verbal communication
You may have wondered why someone in the room is considered a great leader even though he or she may not be the smartest person in the room. You see that people are drawn to them subconsciously even before they begin to speak. This is the power of non-verbal communication. Leaders understand the importance of body language. They tend to have steady eye contact, with their audience, expressive facial movements, and use small and deliberate hand gestures to emphasize key points. Start by taking a powerful pose that shows that you exude confidence. Stand with your legs stretched a bit and back upright. Speak and pause at the right moments in your speech to highlight important points you are making. Some research suggests that as much as 93 percent of our opinion about other people is established within the first 5 minutes of meeting them and body language plays a huge part in creating those initial perceptions. Using body language effectively will project a confident and capable image of yourself as a leader to others in the room.
We hope that this article is helpful. Do you have any tips you would like to add?
Let us know in the comments and please share this post with a friend/colleague if you enjoyed it!
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