As important as who you are and how you come across is what’s going on for your audience. You have to get them on side in order to lead their thinking and decision making.
- PLU – you have ‘People Like Us’ skills that mean others quickly identify with you and your best interests.
- Audience know-how – you read your decision maker accurately so you know what they are thinking. You listen intelligently. You are persuasive, encouraging and decisive. You make the decision maker feel good about themselves in your company. They respond positively in the short, medium and long term because you have demonstrated how much you value them, not just what you can get from them.
- Events – you constantly anticipate events and stage-manage them to your advantage.
To be a leader, you have already worked out your objectives and vision for your company. When you come into a room, you immediately convey purposefully because you’re clear as to why you are there and what outcome you seek. You will have already written a business plan – what about a plan for your own life? Look very closely at your personal goals and how they marry with the vision for your company. You aren’t likely to be tied to the company you are with forever. Indeed, I hope you’ll have an exit plan of some sort, even if it takes the next 10 – 20 years. To be clear about where you are headed and what you want to accomplish during that time and afterwards, be sure about what you want for your life right now.
There is a finger-like part of the brain called the Reticular Cortex. It helps you to create a magnetic vision – whenever you think of – say, red sports cars – then you keep encountering them. You come across what you are thinking about. So when you’re clear as to what you want and how this person or these people will help you, it opens you to opportunities. It gives you a sense of urgency and energy that makes you far more magnetic – and attractive. It attracts you to the right people with those right opportunities.
What is your intention? This addresses a much bigger issue of what your values are, what’s important to you. You know whether what you are doing takes you towards what you value or away from it. It means being in the right place at the right time engaged in the right activity. This points back to how important it is that you evolved a personal vision that fits with who you are. Then you’ll know exactly what you intend with this person and why. You’ll know your direction and purpose. It reinforces your “presence” in the room.
Having Leadership Presence means that your attention is fully present. Inspiring leaders give their absolute attention to the matter in hand which makes them extremely attractive. People turn round when they enter a room, not because they make a big noise, but because they bring their whole concentration and focus into the present moment.
When US President Bill Clinton visited Oxford, a friend of mine was deeply impressed by his charisma as he came into the room. “When he looked at me, it was as though I was the only person in the room that mattered to him.” They found this quality extraordinarily magnetic.
When you give you fullest attention to what you are doing, you create a powerful bow wave of energy that impacts the person in front of you. It was so powerful in Bill Clinton’s case that America voted him for president twice.
Because you win people’s attention immediately with your Leadership Presence, you command further attention by your movement, your gestures and especially in your speaking. You have condensed and concentrated your power and energy to a fine point in this present moment. This gives you gravitas and presence. You don’t dance attention on others, they are keen to please you.
When you are a fully present, you concentrate on focusing your thoughts and words. You choose your words well so you speak sparingly and to the point. You achieve transparent clarity. You communicate easily and precisely so your meaning is absolutely clear. There is no barrier between what comes out of your mouth and what is understood in the other person’s brain.
There is an additional factor that inspires others. You listen to people intelligently, you read them accurately and position yourself precisely. What other factor excites people’s loyalty and commitment?
YouThe Other Person
What forms the keystone of the arch (the stone without which the arch would collapse) connecting you and the other person, is to demonstrate you care for their best interests. They matter to you. And you really have to mean it. When you provide evidence that their concerns are yours, people will take the risk of trusting you.
Having Leadership Presence draws others on to follow you, be guided by you, say “yes” to you. They respect and support your interests. They’re willing to take risks on your behalf, they engineer opportunities for you, they are your advocates. They believe in you. Why? Because you are their leader.