Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Have you ever been around a leader who has the IT factor? The leader whose presence is so strong that you can feel it in the next room. The leader who compels everyone to sit up straight when they arrive? This leadership “X factor” will help you command an audience, but it isn’t easy to pull off. This week on the Champion Forum Podcast, we’ll talk about how you can cultivate your leadership presence and avoid some common mistakes.
1. Body language
Body language sends a clear message, even when people aren’t speaking. Make sure your body language is consistent with what you say. When your body language and your words line up, people are more likely to engage with and trust what you say.
Tips for better body language:
Stand (or sit) tall
look engaged by leaning slightly forward
take up space by putting your arms on the table
maintain solid eye contact with everyone in the room
Q: How are you sitting right now? If you are alone, think back to your last meeting. Do your observations accurately reflect how you feel or how you felt in that meeting? Think about the most confident person in the room. What body language are they exhibiting right now?
Along with body language, your physical appearance can determine how people perceive you. Taking care of your health, investing in a professional wardrobe, and grooming yourself will make you look more confident.
Q: Does a fresh haircut or new outfit affect your confidence? Why or why not? How do you think that wardrobe affects what you think about other people?
Demeanor is often described as how you carry yourself, and it is based on how confident you are. Remaining calm, composed, and in control may help you exude confidence. If you want to grow in your ability to be charismatic and dignified, get around people who have those qualities!
Q: Describe the demeanor of a leader you look up to as descriptively as possible. Do you think that those characteristics are taught or caught?
People with strong communication skills often are more successful in the workplace because people want to listen to them. Being intelligent does not necessarily mean that you are a great communicator. Communication has more to do with how you tell a story than the information you are presenting. Your goal should be to be clear, concise, and appealing. As you prepare for your next meeting, speech, or presentation, think about what you are saying and the way you are saying it. Things like the power of intentional silence and when to use voice inflection are all ways that you can improve your presence.
Q: Think back to the last time you were captivated by a speech or presentation. What made it stand out? How did the speaker’s body language play into your impression of the speech? What emotions did you feel afterward?
The next time you have a chance to try something new, volunteer for the opportunity! Learning how to do new things and take chances will help you become more confident in yourself.
Go out and get a new outfit. Find something that makes you feel confident and projects an image that is in line with the way you want others to see you. Sometimes something as simple as changing your clothes can change your whole outlook and give you a renewed sense of confidence. It doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate. It just has to make you feel good. If you can’t afford a new outfit, a new haircut, long shower, or simple accessory can have the same effect.
Find 2-3 people who have the leadership presence you are looking for. Study them. Read their books. Follow them on LinkedIn, TikTok, or Instagram. Find a Ted Talk that they gave and watch it a few times a week. Surround yourself with them! If you have a personal connection, ask them out to coffee. As you talk, pay attention to how they steer the conversation and how they make you feel. As you continue to spend time with them and around them, the charisma they have will start to rub off on you.