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EP & Gravitas Part 6 – The Real Secret of Gravitas

How many people do you know who have this gravitas thing? I bet it’s a short list. Michelle Obama will be up there.

Now ask who makes you personally feel respected, liberated and able to really think at your best. It’ll be a different list but I bet Michelle will still be on it.

The real secret of gravitas is how you make others feel, how you can liberate and ignite their own potential.

These are the people we will walk through walls for. These are the people we would like to elect.

The real secret to gravitas or executive presence is about ease. It is about being able to be genuinely interested in what others have to say because you are not worried about yourself.

It’s about allowing others’ great thinking and potential to flourish because you personally don’t have to control, to be certain, to impress or rush.

Yes, you do need to really know your stuff 6 questions deep and people need to know you are resilient under fire.

Yes, you do need to own and communicate your own point of view in a compelling way.

Yes, you do need to learn to adapt your style to connect with different people and cultures. You do need to make good decisions and execute well.

But the real gravitas, the real secret that makes this possible? That’s about being able to ignite others to fly.

You can absolutely be this person with just a little work.

Whether you are an introvert, an extravert, a young leader or an established leader adapting to a new role.

That’s what we coach at KineticFuture.

We’re often asked why do you blend psychology with the physicality of theatre skills? Why is this resilience and positive leadership malarkey relevant? And what’s with this neuroscience bit and obsession about your planning tools for a communications strategy?

Because these are the skills you need to be genuinely, deep down, long term successful when you are battling real life. And these are the keys to open up yourself to new and exciting personal possibilities.

If you’d like to find out how you or your colleagues could be coached on HOW you can learn to do this, email us a quick “yes please”. And we’ll get in touch for a chat.

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EP & Gravitas Part 5 – Boost Your Confidence

Boost Your Confidence

Q: There are some people who manage to knock my confidence and I start to lose gravitas in the meeting. The worst are people who ask questions aggressively on subjects I’m not sure about. How do I maintain my confidence and gravitas in this type of situation?

A:

  • Be prepared. Develop answers for the questions you dread the most. And be prepared to say you don’t know and will find the information for them. No one knows everything. Also think of framing the answer in terms of what makes sense or is valuable to the questioner, not just to you.
  • Manage your ‘tell’. Just like in poker this is the behaviour that gives away that you are under pressure. For example it could be smiling too much or fidgeting. If you know what your ‘tell’ is you can manage it, which boosts your confidence.
  • Flip it. In your mind, swap the word aggressive for vigorous. And find the upside of these questions. See it as a sign that they are very interested. Or that you are offering them a platform to look clever. Or that their ‘bad’ behaviour will draw others to your cause. What else can you think of?

If you would like to be coached on HOW to boost your confidence, please do get in touch. We offer group and one to one programmes tailored for your own real situations.

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EP & Gravitas Part 4 – Warmth & Authenticity

Warmth & Authenticity

 Q: I’m very comfortable talking to other senior leaders. But my colleagues tell me I lack warmth and emotional connection with less senior people. How do I do this in a genuine way that still maintains the gravitas and presence of a leader?

A: From what you say in the rest of your note you seem to have warmth and connection in your dealings with familiar senior colleagues or with people who share your hobbies. What you’re going to do here is get back to being your authentic self. And to build on what works for you already. The right level of gravitas will come through naturally.

Exercises

  1. Get real. It may be useful to ask yourself “what am I assuming that stops me from connecting well with less senior colleagues?” And “do I have evidence for this view/fact?” Often seeing something written down and challenged can start to loosen up your approach.
  2. Get over yourself. Go into situations with less senior people with genuine curiosity. Ask their views. Listen. Engineer a different communications forum that’s more relaxed and personal. Use your imagination!!
  3. Build on what’s natural to you. Think of a situation outside work where you are your most relaxed self. With the family? At the pub? With your football mates? Practice your next presentation or conversation ‘in the style of’ – talking and listening to one of these groups. It will feel strange. Good. You could even film yourself to see the difference or ask a friend to give you feedback. See what happens.

To receive high quality coaching on HOW to develop your own executive presence and gravitas for your own situation do give us a ring. We develop bespoke courses for individuals or groups of all sexes, ages and cultures.

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EP & Gravitas Part 3 – Double Standards For Women

Double Standards For Women

Q: If a man is assertive and speaks out strongly that seems ok. But if I do the same as a female leader I’m considered aggressive or even emotional. How do I deal with these double standards and have executive presence?

A: Infuriating isn’t it! The EP strategies below have been useful for other senior women and you could add them in to what’s working for you already.

Exercises:

  1. Be clear why you got the job. Yes you need to flex and grow in a new role but don’t squash the assets that made you successful in the first place. Do you know what they are? Are you clear about your own brand, vision and values? Don’t get lost. Don’t make the mistake of needing to be liked. There are huge advantages of being a senior woman at work. What can you do to achieve results in your own way?
  2. Can you make an asset of being different? At first, you can go in with a disruption strategy, but normally it’s easier to connect to ‘The Tribe’ by fitting in and biding your time a little to win their confidence and work out the lie of the land. Then, you can dial up the assets that make you different and useful to the business. That might be your culture, your style or different knowledge and perspective.
  3. Calibrate your reactions. The harsh reality is that in traditional work cultures senior women need to be calmer and more measured in their delivery than men. Do you think you need to dial down your behaviour, choose your moments or just ignore the feedback? Check you have a strong positive physicality. It communicates gravitas and executive presence fast. In particular, work on a lower, more resonant voice – high pitched, light voices can sound like whining and many older men can’t even hear voices on a high frequency. Of course, using wry humour can be a more effective way to diffuse a situation or make your point. Could you mix more of this in?
  4. Come to the forefront on the tough issues. You can score big on executive presence if you communicate strongly when there’s a big issue that the team are finding difficult to solve. Choose your moment and issue, have all your facts and figures in place to make the case strongly. Be savvy with socialising your recommendation ahead of the big meeting or presentation. And follow up with key players.

To be coached on the HOW of developing your executive presence and gravitas for your own situation do give us a ring. We develop bespoke courses for individuals or groups of all sexes, ages and cultures.

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EP & Gravitas Part 2 – Get in the Game for Gravitas

Confidence and grace under fire is one of the top aspects of gravitas, according to research from The Talent Foundation. Today’s question in this series is about being heard.  Timing is everything.  If you can make a well researched point strongly, particularly in the tough times, you will boost your gravitas and executive presence.

Get in the Game for Gravitas

Q: I get the feeling that other senior leaders are not really listening to what I say when we’re round the table. Yet someone else will make the same point and it’s accepted.  Infuriating.  It’s worse when I’m with very loud people.  How do I change this dynamic?

A: This is about developing your professional presence. It’s hard to know exactly what’s happening here without seeing you in action.  But there are three easy things you can try out now and see what works for you.  It’s good practice for when you really need to make a key point in the tough times.  Do the homework below, practice out loud for 15 minutes and then use one or two of the approaches in an easy meeting and see what happens.

Exercises:

    1. Work out a clear point of view and call to action that you can deliver succinctly and with conviction. Then practice. If you ramble, repeat yourself or use words like maybe or perhaps you are undermining yourself. A point of view is a 30 second nugget of good thinking that supports the objective. The call to action is your 15 second advice on what should happen next. It’s the point you would make if you only had 45 seconds. It’s useful to start by saying “To be successful… or To achieve x we need to ….”
    2. Get in the game. This means that before you even speak people need to be aware of your presence. Walk in tall, sit up, lean forward to listen to someone else talking, ask a question, look involved, interested and relaxed. Sit in a power position in the room – in easy line of sight of the key players and avoid being hidden.
    3. Use an easy vocal strength tip. Before you speak, take an intake of breath or use the current speaker’s name to signal you are about to make a point. Then emphasise the consonant at the beginning of the first word of your sentence and the first word e.g. the W in what. Then decide which are the ‘money words’ in your point – essentially the key words you need to emphasise in the sentence. Underline them in rehearsal. This will slow down your delivery and make it more impactful.

To be coached to develop your executive presence and gravitas for your current situation do give us a ring. We develop bespoke courses for individuals or groups. Find out more here.

 

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Executive Presence & Gravitas Part 1 – Vision & Values

Gravitas, according to 62% of leaders surveyed, is what signals to the world you’re made of the right stuff and can be trusted with serious responsibility. I bet you understand it.  But can you physically do it under fire in different roles and cultures?  That’s what we coach.

In this six-part series, our coaches are going to answer your questions and share some of their top coaching secrets that get results – with exercises that you can practice at home.

We hope you enjoy it. Keep emailing your questions to us!  And share the inspirations too.

Vision and Values are Your Core Stability

Q: I have the intellectual horsepower.  I can certainly go ‘six questions deep’ in my specialist subject.  But in the big senior meetings I tend to sit back and not get involved enough.  Then when I do speak, I’m not sure I’m convincing.

A: A friend of mine saw an 18-year-old girl hit by a speeding lorry just outside her house.  She decided to campaign to get the speed limit changed.  Without any previous experience, she lobbied the local council, made multiple presentations and succeeded.

Your vision and values will give you authentic presence and gravitas in the room. Just as they did for my friend.  They are your core stability together with a clear appreciation of your own strengths.  Then you can work on a host of practical other elements.  But this is what builds authenticity and supports you through the really tough stuff.

Exercises

  1. Think of a situation where you are really proud of yourself. Tell a friend the story.  Your friend writes down all the strengths they hear and then replays them at the end.  Put them in a box to reflect upon
  2. Make a list of all your core values. Then start to cross the values off your list until you get to 3 which become your ‘red line’ areas.  This is hard!
  3. Ask yourself what your purpose is at work, what is important to you, what drives you.

To learn how to develop your executive presence and gravitas. And ignite others around your purpose, do give us a ring. We develop bespoke courses for individuals or groups. Find out more here.

 

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Gravitas For The Real World

As the planning season is about to go full throttle, we’re going to focus the next few inspirations on the HOW of gravitas and executive presence.

Looking at real challenges for the real world.

Could you let us have your questions and views on this subject? No names will be attributed unless you’d like us to! We’ll make sure we answer them.

For example, the questions we often receive on our courses are:

  • How do you convey your competence and be heard?
  • How do you get the balance between authenticity and fitting in?
  • How do you encourage and mentor diversity?
  • How best to handle traditional male cultures if you are a woman?

We look forward to hearing from you.

If you would like to know how developing gravitas helps you to ignite people around your own purpose we can help. We coach leadership teams to be exceptional communicators.

Contact us to find out more about our bespoke inspirational courses.

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Millennial Magic

I live with two ‘generation Y’ males – often known as the Me generation or Millennials’. They are just entering the world of work and I have to say I’m impressed. They seem to have tremendous perspective on what’s important and what’s not. They are incredibly savvy. They see the work habits of previous generations as really quite barking mad. Personally, I have a sneaking feeling they are right.

Yet we also know that many ‘gen Y’ers, born in the 80s and 90s, are still the source of huge consternation and angst in the world of work. Their slightly older managers bewail their desire to take responsibility or to do their ‘time’ before promotion and worry about how quickly they move on to other jobs.

I hate to generalise and much has been written about how to inspire them. But in my view not enough consideration is given to their lack of inner confidence (despite appearances), nor their dependence on external factors for success rather than their own internal strength.

These few tips will help you have conversations designed to develop greater genuine confidence so they can grow at work:

  • Help them create an exciting vision and personal objectives – they need to draw it or write it down
  • Talk about their strengths today
  • Be clear about their future potential
  • Anticipate a struggle with work’s realities and create a support structure
  • Provide clarity and firmness around work, behaviour and experience required for them to get their promotion
  • Provide short-term milestones they can meet easily

If you or your team would like to learn practical approaches to ignite millennials around your purpose, do give us a ring. We develop bespoke coaching and training programmes around your own situation.

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Happy Reading!

We thought we’d share with you our recommended reading list from the area of positive leadership and resilience; combining neuroscience, positivity and communications skills. Let us know if you have any favourites of your own to add.

Karen ReivichThe Resilience Factor
Martin Seligman
Authentic Happiness
Shawn Achor
The Happiness Advantage
David Rock – Your Brain At Work
Sonja
Lyubomirsky
The How of Happiness
Nancy Kline – Time to Think
Sarah Lewis – Positive Psychology at Work
Ben Hunt-Davis – Does it Make the Boat Go Faster?
Richard Davidson – The Emotional Life of your Brain
Daniel
Kahneman
Thinking Fast and Slow
Romilla Ready & Kate Burton – Neuro-linguistic Programming for Dummies

If you would like to know how to ignite people around your own purpose we can help. We coach leadership teams to be exceptional communicators. Contact us to find out more about our bespoke inspirational courses.

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Litter Picking Fun App

This app makes it fun to pick up litter. Who would have thought it?

Jeff Kirschner’s 6 minute Ted talk scores on so many levels. It’s a great example of how to ignite people around your purpose – in his idea and in the way he communicates it.

  1. It’s a presentation about rubbish but it had me interested from the word go – fantastic idea, great data
  2. The story he tells in his presentation is personal, amusing, highly visual, surprising and edgy, with clearly presented data slides. All devices that gain your attention and keep it. His physicality oozes confidence and presence.
  3. His app is tapping in to people’s existing desire to keep doing what they love, taking artistic pictures and sharing them. And the human desire to be included in a bigger community with a real meaningful purpose. Both make it easier for them to act and boost personal happiness.

If you would like to know how to ignite people around your own purpose we can help. We coach leadership teams to be exceptional communicators. Contact us to find out more about our bespoke inspirational courses.

Watch Jeff Kirschner’s talk below.

Visit Litterati to find out more and download the app (for iPhone).