When you have it you can speak with gravitas (substance) and poise under pressure, when you don’t, you come across as uncertain and unstructured.
It is a reality that when you stand up to speak you will be judged, so why not be judged as confident and competent?
In the first 60 seconds of communication you must let your audience know two things; why they should listen and, why they should listen to you. Preparation of these two ‘Whys” will give you impact and influence.
Why should they listen?
People pay attention to what is relevant to them, and so frame your information or news in a way that people are connecting it to themselves. So instead of saying, “I am here to talk about my findings”, you could say something like, “You might be interested on how these findings will impact your workflow”.
If you have ever watched the news then you know that they always lead with the bad news first. Our brains are wired to pay attention to negative news as a survival mechanism and so put the negative up front. “The competition will take a significant piece of our market if we don’t make changes now” has much more gravitas than ‘We are doing well but should be vigilant about competition.”
Why should they listen to you?
Your character speaks volumes. It includes your experience, your authenticity and the way you carry yourself. Self-leadership, which is leading from the inside out, builds your character and allows you to influence others.
Confidence is communicated verbally and non-verbally. So before you speak remember what you are good at and remind yourself that you know your ‘stuff’. For more information on building your executive confidence, here is another blog post.
People will listen to you when you add value to the information you are giving, so don’t just give facts but add your perspective and viewpoint.
Why should you develop global executive presence?
In a modern matrixed organization we must be able to influence without authority, laterally and upwards. As most businesses are international we must also be able to communicate and influence people in other cultures. Global executive presence includes the ability to read people and situations regardless of culture, so just being good at your job is not enough.