Cultivate a Commanding Presence

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Not everyone is born with a leader’s commanding presence, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop and perfect your personal magnetism. These tips can help you take charge and instill confidence.

What do successful leaders look like and how do they conduct themselves? More to the point, can you emulate them to achieve similar results? One school of thought says you either have “it”—think Bill Clinton, George Clooney and Ronald Reagan—or you don’t. But that’s not necessarily so, at least according to the book, “Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence,” by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins.

In his article on CIO Insight, Dennis McCafferty explores the book’s premise that you can consciously develop your leadership presence and capabilities to positively influence business conversations, meetings and events in a big way.

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One famous and prime example that the book’s authors reference is Bill Gates. Many would argue that he’s not exactly the poster child of personal magnetism. However, what Mr. Gates may lack in terms of extroversion or charm, he more than makes up for with a very strong presence.

As the authors note: “He is highly influential, able to impact others, and true to himself. He has not traded in his trademark sweaters for a polished Madison Avenue suit or his true-to-form spectacles for contact lenses.”

Consider these 12 tips to boost your leadership presence to a higher level.

1. Look inward and focus on the authentic business principles that you value. When you communicate them to others, it can have a lasting effect.

2. Create and think with a “we” mentality that includes what’s good for the entire company.

3. Set the standard for meetings: be 5 minutes early, prepared and calm. Don’t be in a hurry to leave.

4. Ask questions that show you’re interested, curious and insightful.

5. Show that you know and care about your team. Listen with interest and empathy when they share ideas, challenges and interests—both professional and personal.

6. Good leaders inspire their teams, set standards and delegate action without resorting to pettiness, arrogance or bullying.

7. Cultivate a flexible, agile management style while avoiding waffling or indecision.

8. Your mother was right. Your physical posture counts so stand tall and sit up straight.

9. Don’t squirm or fidget when you speak with people, and always maintain eye contact.

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10. Listen to how you sound when you speak, both publicly and during private conversations. Eliminate distracting uhs, ums, and ahs from your speech.

11. Your mother was right—again. Dress appropriately to impress and don’t neglect your personal grooming.

12. Always maintain your composure. Stay calm and collected when you’re under pressure.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of Small Business Computing. Follow Lauren on Twitter.

Adapted from 12 Surefire Ways to Boost Your Leadership Presence, by Dennis McCafferty at CIO Insight.  Follow CIO Insight on Twitter.