Less than 5 years.
Believe it or not, that’s the median tenure of today’s Fortune 500 CEO. (Actually, it’s 4.9 years.)
In this climate of constant change, you can’t afford to rely on old relationships — you need to build an instant connection. And to build that instant connection, you need leadership presence. But what is “leadership presence,” really, and how can you improve it?
Leadership presence is not about getting louder or more intense.
Leadership presence is about becoming more confident in your natural style. Leadership presence is like a well-balanced chair, giving you the support you need to feel strong and centered.
So, how do you start building your chair?
Here are three key ways:
1. Connect with your message
To build leadership presence, you need to focus on connecting all dimensions of your speaking — your message, your facial expressions, your gestures, and your voice. You need to put the whole of your communication together, because there’s so much more to speaking than your words. You need to eliminate the parts of your speaking that distract from your message — your “ahs” and “ers,” your twitches, and other nervous habits. When you put all your concentration into your whole speaking, the distractions will naturally fade away.
2. Make your audience feel smart
One of the ways you can make your audience feel smart is to distill your data into clear, meaningful messages. Try arranging your thoughts from concept down to detail, rather than from detail up to concept. This way, your audience knows where you are going and will follow your points more easily. When you help your audience really “get it,” you will establish your leadership presence.
3. Feel the rhythm
To build leadership presence, you need to get into a rhythm. When you get into a rhythm, your thoughts flow, your movements flow, and your energy flows. You can build rhythm into your speaking by repeating a pattern of words that create a rhythmic build — note the flow in the previous sentence. By incorporating rhythmic builds into your speaking, you will naturally add highlight. You will naturally build momentum. You will naturally project a stronger leadership presence.
By working on these techniques, you will learn that leadership presence is not a magical trait that some people are just born with, but rather a set of skills that will help you speak with power and purpose. So remember: Connect with your message, make your audience feel smart, and feel the rhythm. With leadership presence, you will be able to build the connection you need to stay relevant in any business climate.