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Is Your Presence Powerful or Powerless?

Powerful presence

It’s a fact that within the first seven (7) seconds of seeing you, people have formed a strong opinion of who you are, what you’re about and whether they want to pursue a relationship with you. Before you’ve even said a word, you have been assessed on several key factors including style, confidence, competence and friendliness. And when you do start to speak, according to a recent New York Times article, over 93% of what you communicate comes through body language. So while words matter, your presence is essential to your success. The question is: are you making a positive or a negative impact through the way you present yourself?

It’s even more important if you’re a leader in your organization. If you manage people or projects, the quality of your presence drives your ability to get this done effectively. In fact, a study conducted at MIT found that training in soft skills to boost executive presence issued a 250% return on investment. An additional study revealed that 62% of senior executives consider Presence or Gravitas the most important factor in hiring decisions. In a nutshell – a powerful presence is great for you and for the organization.

Now, if you’re thinking, “some people are just born with a powerful presence. There’s nothing I can do to change how other people perceive me.” You’re wrong. Presence is a combination of variables well within your own control. Your presence can be molded into almost anything you want it to be. A little effort spent improving your presence will make a HUGE difference in your first impression, and the result is a whole new world of possibilities. 

The million dollar question is, how do you create a powerful presence? Here are seven (7) techniques that will help you cultivate a truly impressive and powerful presence.

  1. Stand Up Straight.
    When you slouch, you start to communicate insecurity, indifference and a feeling of being powerless. Standing in a straight, upright position communicates self-confidence and builds trust among others. Practice doing so with your shoulders back and your head held high to project a powerful presence.
  2. Make Eye Contact.
    Direct eye contact is another sign of confidence and trust. When you look someone in the eye, you’re communicating poise, interest and calmness. If you tend to dart your eyes around or are constantly looking down, you’re communicating disinterest and insecurity. Neither one of those habits create a positive impression or inspire confidence. 
  3. Wear a Genuine Smile.
    When you smile, you’re able to raise your energy while also signaling confidence and approachability. This is trust-building behavior that helps magnetize opportunities your way. Frowning communicates displeasure, stress and worry, which tend to keep people away. Your smile doesn’t have to be super bright to have the desired effect; in fact, practicing “resting-smile-face,” can help shift perception about your general demeanor with very positive outcomes.
  4. Take Up Space.
    Whether you are sitting or standing, the more space you take up, the more powerful you appear. Refrain from crossing arms and legs, keep your feet shoulder width apart, keep your materials neat, yet also give them space in your area of the table. 
  5. Be Aware of Your Body Movement.
    When you move, take wider steps and keep your body positioned forward with your head neutral. Similar to the other suggestions, this communicates confidence and projects a powerful presence. If you walk with your shoulders and/or your head down, you’re showing others a lack of energy and confidence. It also helps to walk with your feet pointed forward and not inward or out to the side. Inward communicates insecurity while outward signals going in too many directions. 
  6. Dress the Part You Want to Play.
    How you dress and accessorize says a lot about your self-awareness and self-image. Your visual billboard is the first element people see and true to the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” your billboard tells people a ton about who you are and how you feel about yourself. To maximize your power, dress intentionally and pay attention to the details. Others will – even when you don’t.  
  7. Engage Others. 
    Approaching people with a welcoming expression and open gestures is a sure sign of poise and approachability. Even if you prefer introversion, it doesn’t take a ton of energy to smile and extend a hand. Yet these small gestures in the first few seconds of an encounter can make a big impact on creating positive, powerful and lasting impressions on people.

As you master these techniques, you’ll start to see a powerful presence reflected in the mirror and in the way others react to you and pull you in. The more competent and confident you are, the stronger and more talented your team will become, increasing the potential of the group. You’ll also feel more self-confident and as a result, your presence will become more magnetic and inspiring.

If you want to know more about improving your presence and optimizing your leadership effectiveness, I’d love to talk with you. I’ve opened up my schedule over the next couple of days to help motivated leaders discover their talents, understand their value, strengthen their skills and create a roadmap to executive success! 

Book a free strategy call with me and we’ll talk about your leadership and career goals, what you love to do and how we can help you accelerate your success. No strings attached! Click here to schedule your call today. I look forward to chatting soon! 

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The Luck of the Irish…or is it?

social capital

St. Patrick’s Day got me thinking about the Irish and what makes them so lovable. Is it their fun and easy-going nature? Their lively music and inviting hospitality? Maybe it’s the way they make others feel like family? While there are many facets to the Irish culture, it’s safe to say that these characteristics don’t hurt their friendly reputation.

If you think about it, the Irish are experts at building social capital. They know how to build trust and rapport with others. As a cultural norm, the Irish make people feel special and cared for, which lays the foundation for creating strong and impactful relationships.

Think this ability is just the luck of the Irish? It’s not! You don’t need a four-leaf clover to have the same impact on your professional and personal relationships. The Irish’s reputation is not luck at all, it’s culture, and you can build this culture within yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Always Make People Feel Welcome.
    Something that comes second nature to the Irish is making others feel like family. Locals take the time to ask others how they’re doing, they help each other out without expecting anything in return and they take outsiders under their wing and make them feel like Ireland is their home, too. All of these acts are also great ways to build social capital. Start by being approachable and engaging, be honest and show up when others really need you, and be loyal – have their back even when they’re not around. Doing so demonstrates that you care and are willing to go the extra mile for others. This builds trust that is like money in the bank. Soon enough, you’ll see that behavior reciprocated, creating a strong foundation for long-term social capital.

  2. Stay in touch with others.
    The Irish community is a pretty tight-knit group of people. Because of its small-town likeness, everyone makes an effort to keep in touch and checks in on how others in the community are doing. This helps create strong relationships within the community.

    You don’t have to be local to borrow this trait. There’s nothing like getting an unexpected call from an old friend who wants to check in and see how you’re doing. It makes you feel important and cared for, which is exactly why it’s a great way to build social capital.

    Wondering where to start? Reach out to former colleagues, clients, mentors and other professionals in your industry and let them know you appreciate them and are thinking about them. This will make a positive impression and lead to more opportunities for you. Whether it’s extending a congratulations for a job promotion, forwarding a newspaper clipping or simply checking in to say hello, these small gestures have an exponential positive impact.

  3. Be persistent.
    The country of Ireland is a story of persistence. With wars, famine and poverty coloring its history, the people of Ireland have built up a strong willpower. Whatever comes their way, they keep pushing forward with an outward optimism that is both charming and admirable. There are two great ways to learn from this bit of Irish culture – first, when your chips are down; keep your chin UP! Others are inspired by an optimistic and resilient person and they will remember your confidence and good character.

    Second, investing in social capital takes a little perseverance; it doesn’t happen overnight. There’s an investment in getting to know people and building authentic trust. With some people it’s organic, with others it takes more time. Don’t give up; as time goes by, you’ll see evidence of success in your ability to build positive and powerful relationships.

  4. Have Fun!
    Even though St. Patrick’s Day technically celebrates the death of a saint who reportedly removed all the snakes from Ireland during the fifth century, these days, people of other cultures all around the globe pause for a moment, put their “Irish on”  and celebrate what is festive, fun and heartwarming in life. The Irish are known for having a great sense of humor, being open to new adventures, storytelling and bringing life to any party, wherever they are and whoever they are with.

    This is a critical aspect to building social capital. You want to be the person everyone loves to spend time with. In order to do that, take a queue from the Irish and show off your fun-loving side. Display your true personality, take others on adventures and always be the life of the party wherever you go.  

Forget about a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. Building Social Capital is better than gold, its money in the bank of life that will get you much further in your career. So, the next time you want to create a good impression, have some fun and make a friend for life — channel your inner Irishman and enjoy yourself.
For more tips on how to create the career of your dreams, click here to watch my master class on The Keys to Executive Success.

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Creating Confidence in Every Conversation


Think of a recent social or business gathering you attended. Who were the people that you were drawn to? I bet that they were the ones who exuded confidence. You probably remember them well because these people radiate a warmth and enthusiasm that magnetized others toward them. People with an authentic, confident approach are comfortable in many environments and see networking situations as expansion opportunities, while less confident people often hide in the background or stick closely to people they know.

If you are lacking authentic confidence and its showing up in your business interactions; you are not alone. We all yearn to have confidence; to feel empowered by simply being ourselves. Yet the truth is everyone can use a confidence boost every once and a while. Confidence is not something you achieve and then hold perfectly in place forever. Here are a few tips to help you cultivate and project confidence and master any conversation you’re in.

Cultivating Authentic Confidence

1. Nothing to Prove.
The moment you stop trying to prove yourself to others is the moment real confidence can begin to grow.  As people, we are all on equal footing and as you embrace the concept of nothing to prove, you will feel a release of pressure – the pressure that comes from trying to meet the expectations of others. As you embrace and build your own blend of talents, and pursue the things you love to do, others will marvel and want to know your secret.  

2. Do What You Love.
If you’re looking to build confidence, there is nothing better than doing the things that make you feel confident. Understanding and playing to your strengths is the best way to do so. Your body and your brain both LOVE IT when you indulge in the things you were designed to do. In return, they will reward you with magnetic energy and a level of competence that people can’t help but admire.

3. Have a Routine of Positive Self-Talk.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, positive affirmations can really change your presence. Give yourself positive messages that remind you of your strengths, talents and successes. Here are some simple positive self-talk tips to try.

Project Authentic Confidence

Cultivating real confidence is the goal, and yet it can be just as important to fake-it-while-you-make-it.  Here are a few easy-to-implement tips that will get you showing up with charm and poise.

1. Smile.
One trait of confident people is that they aren’t afraid to smile – with their mouth and their eyes. This act creates positive energy within you, so even when you feel nervous, it doesn’t show on your face. This, in turn, exudes confidence as you talk to others.

2. Show Interest.
People with confidence care about others. Take the focus off yourself and put it on others by asking thoughtful questions and listening with interest.

3. Be Still.
It’s common to fidget with your hands, especially when you’re nervous. However, that is a clear sign to others that you aren’t confident in what you’re saying and/or doing. To refrain from doing this, consider keeping your focus on your breathing, instead. This helps relax your overall nerves and limits any fidgeting.

New situations can make anyone feel a bit anxious and uncertain. By applying these simple tips, you will be on your way to feeling less nervous, more empowered, and more confident.

Over the years I’ve worked with thousands of leaders and have helped many to discover their unique talents and use them in their everyday work to elevate performance, improve relationships and eliminate stress. If you want to be more confident and more successful, I can help. Schedule a FREE strategy call with me and we’ll discuss the steps you need to take to show up confidently in every conversation. Click here to sign up for a time slot.