How you communicate has a lot to do with how you are perceived by others.
Tampa, FL (PRWEB) April 10, 2014
A number of events are scheduled this year (e.g., April 30 and Oct. 21-22 in Toronto; April 25, May 30, Sept. 19, Oct. 10 and Nov. 7 in Seattle) that revolve around how professionals can develop a unique set of skills to differentiate themselves, starting with leadership presence. That comes as no surprise to FPMG, a performance management firm, since founder Denise Federer, Ph.D. believes leadership presence is an important determinant of leaders’ effectiveness.
“Leadership presence—how you are perceived and accepted by others—can open limitless career opportunities, or derail even the most talented people from reaching their leadership goals,” Federer says. “In essence, it’s about your attitude, character, and behavior when no one is looking, transcending other measuring sticks such as technical ability and emotional intelligence.”
FPMG believes that perfecting the following three elements is the key to enhancing leadership presence:
- Be fully aware and present
- Lead from the middle
- Communicate effectively
Federer explains that being fully aware and present means having strong self-awareness, understanding how others see you, and realizing they start judging you the moment you enter the scene. It also includes successfully navigating the business culture—knowing what’s normal and expected versus what’s not well tolerated—as well as the official and unofficial hierarchies.
She says leading from the middle means leveraging power and influence through interactions with peers and superiors, managing across, up, and down. Success can hinge on trusted relationships made by being predictable, consistent and accountable; knowing technical expertise will only go so far; developing mutual respect; aligning goals; and being authentic.
Finally, there’s communicating effectively, which depends on knowing the importance of verbal and non-verbal communication, according to Federer. She points out that only 7% of communication is accomplished with actual words; a far greater percentage is based on body language (55%) and vocal qualities like tone, pitch, and pace of delivery (38%).
“How you communicate has a lot to do with how you are perceived by others,” Federer says. “The good news is that you can increase your leadership presence by focusing on your verbal and non-verbal communications skills.”
- Understanding differing communications styles, i.e., detail-oriented or big picture
- Listening strategically, understanding others’ priorities and “hot buttons”
- Asking questions
- Honing conversational skills
- Knowing which topics to avoid
- Establishing 70% eye contact
- Using open gestures, i.e., palms up
- Sitting or standing erect
- Using a lower pitch
- Speaking slowly and distinctively
- Being aware of your entrance into a room
- Giving a solid handshake
“When you become aware of all the nuances in your own behavior as well as others’, you can use them as a way gain respect and trust—two byproducts of leadership presence that can go a long way toward enhancing your career success,” Federer concludes.