How do you read the room on Zoom?
I was asked this question by one of my coaching clients who wanted to transform her influence, to get the promotion she sought.
I’d previously shared with her that in addition to projecting gravitas and confidence, executive presence means, reading the room.
The Greek Philosopher, Aristotle wrote, that in order to influence, we need pathos. Pathos gives us the English word, empathy, meaning the ability to understand the feelings and motivations of your audience. This is what I mean by reading the room.
Pitching your idea, or presenting information without knowing what state the audience is in or what’s important to them, is like driving on a freeway blindfolded.
So, how do you read the room, and how do you do that in a Zoom, or Teams environment when many participants have their cameras off?
Well, if you are still listening to me, then I already know something about you.
You are curious and open to learning. You are ambitious and want to...
Being ‘nice’ is a behavior we teach our children, and as adults, we like it when people are nice to us, so what is so wrong with being nice?
If you value being, considerate, pleasant, friendly, and well-mannered then by all means behave that way and encourage others to do the same. But it may surprise you that being nice does not mean these things.
I have painful memories of learning the true meaning of ‘nice’.
At school in the U.K, my English teacher detested the inexactitude of the adjective ‘nice’. He thought its use was lazy and sought to expunge it from my vocabulary with a smack across the back of the hand, with a steel ruler, if I ever used it. This left a lasting memory on a 9-year old boy and to this day, I cringe when I hear it.
As barbaric as this education sounds, my English teacher was correct in his understanding of the etymology of the word ‘nice’. Its origins are from Latin nescius...
It was with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Academy Award Winning Scottish Actor, Sir Thomas Sean Connery (25 August 1930 – 31 October 2020).
The first actor to play James Bond in a movie in 1962, Sean Connery has been an icon for my entire life. My parents were fans, and as soon as I was old enough, I was a fan.
This blog reflects on the impact of Sean’s life, both on and off-screen.
Connery had been an actor in small theater and TV productions before he played Bond, but it was this role that launched his career. James Bond 007, a British Secret Service agent, was created by writer Ian Fleming in 1953, but Connery’s physicality and humor brought the character to life. If you watch an interview with Connery, you will hear the humor, that so distinguished his alter ego’s dry wit.
He played 007 in the first five Bond films: Dr. No (1962), From Russia with...
False humility, or more importantly, not understanding the true definition of humility will kill your career. I know this because I’ve spent 20-years coaching people to senior leadership positions and the C-Suite.
Before you react, please note, I am not advocating arrogance. Arrogance and humility are not even on the same continuum, and misunderstanding this will cost you.
To be successful as a man or woman in today’s business world you need to project confidence, have a voice and be visible – in short ‘Executive Presence’.
My experience is that there is a ‘humility barrier’ – a cultural, gender and mind-set inhibitor to developing, presence, influence and leadership.
The first step in breaking through the humility barrier is to look at the correct definition of humility and how it has been misinterpreted.
The definition of "humility" comes from the Latin word humilitas, which translates as "humble", but also as...
Think of the most confident person you know. Think of how they stand, how they hold the space and how, when they speak, everyone listens. This is Executive Presence.
"Executive Presence is the ability to project confidence and gravitas (substance) under pressure."
In addition a person with executive presence can present effectively and has the ability to 'read the room', so that they can influence an audience.
In a complex, fast paced world it is vital to be noticed, heard and trusted. Executive Presence is therefore an essential competency for both individual contributors and leaders.
In my 20-years of experience as an executive coach, working with C-level executives and those that want to crack the C-Suite, I have observed that those who are successful have mastered executive presence.
I have created a free Masterclass on how to to develop executive presence and you can watch it here. You can also read these 12-Strategies...
To succeed in any organization, you must understand 'office politics'. The first rule is to be visible, doing good work is not enough if you're not associated with it. You must learn to shine.
Let me tell you about Chris who's an experienced pharmaceutical Healthcare Executive. He's delivered results as a sales head early in his career and had been moved to head office in Europe in an administrative role.
Chris made everything run smoothly. However, he did it in an under-the-radar manner, so when he wanted to step up to a country manager role he was not deemed ready.
Chris had not followed the first rule of office politics:
How could Chris have gained visibility instead of just quietly making things efficient?
Global leadership is the new standard. When companies were just national, you could make it to senior-level or even the top with a mix of competence and confidence (of course a few good connections could also help).
Today, successful companies are international or global and to be a leader requires something extra. Just doing a good job on your home turf is no longer enough, you have to be visible and you have to have impact.
For example, a senior manager in India or Indonesia could be successfully managing thousands of people, meeting targets, but have no visibility in a global organization. On the flip side, an American or European manager may fail to lead in Asia or South America, because they just don’t understand how to get things done in those cultures.
I was recently having a conversation with a US-based, charismatic, ‘C-level’ executive of a global company, about the direct reports of his peer who worked in Asia. He expressed his frustration that these...
Any photography enthusiastic understands that, whilst the subject remains the same, the choice of lens will change how it is viewed. What is true for cameras is also true for people, as we all see the world through our own lens of perception and bias.
A wide-angle lens gives you the 'big picture', whilst other times you will want to 'zoom in' to see detail. To have only one lens would cause you to miss out on so much.
Let me ask you a question; "Do you like to have the data points and build a picture from what you have, or do you prefer to start with a big picture and then work out the details later?"
Neither of these approaches are right or wrong, 'Big Picture' and 'Detail Orientation' are both useful, but the premise of this post, is that to be an effective leader, you need both, plus the ability to focus.
Some leaders focus on the positive and some on the negative and it shows in how they speak. What we say is a ‘reflection of the 'image' we...
Do you ever underplay or understate your real value?
Do you shy away from praise and recognition and say things like, “it was nothing”, or “It’s just my job”?
Discounting is a common behavior, but one that is more common in women than men.
With confidence and presence being key predictors of success in life and work, discounting is costing you money and your well being.
Usually, because somebody or something (parents, siblings, school, friends, boss, media) has done a number on our self-esteem. Self-esteem literally means self-value and if you fail to value your ‘self’ nobody else will.
When Coaching or teaching Executive Presence, I often come across cases of discounting, but the good news is that this can be turned around by applying Self-leadership strategies.
Often discounting is driven by the desire to appear or be ‘humble’. The...