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4 Things women Need To Know About Leadership Presence

I often get asked “what is one of the most important things you have learned in your career so far?”  It is PRESENCE! How I show up, how I communicate and how I make others feel.

Are you ready to hear more?

Here’s something we can all relate to….you know that woman who walks into a room, delivers a message and everyone’s eyes are glued to her, listening to every word… she stands tall even if she’s only 5 feet 2 inches, she commands attention and respect when she speaks, not because of the volume of her voice but from the confidence and energy behind it. This woman has what’s called LEADERSHIP PRESENCE. It’s one of the key missing ingredients for women striving to advance.  Most women recognize leadership presence as a skill they are most eager to develop.

WHY?  Because they know it will help them achieve the respect they deserve.

What can you do as a woman to accelerate your own development when it comes to cultivating this skill and be recognized as a leader?

In my experience it’s not more education.  It’s not working harder, because women are known to exert a strong work ethic in just about everything we do… It’s these 4 ingredients that will do it! 

1. Own it & be confident

2. Know how you “show up” and your physical presence

3. Establish your unique voice

4. Build emotional connections

These are the main ingredients you need!

Confidence is the underlying issue permeating all of leadership presence, so what can you do about it?

1. Become more aware of how it gets in your way and how others see you. Self-awareness is fundamental.

2. Establish self check ins.  Have a good chat with yourself and see how you’re feeling what you’re thinking.  Become aware of that nasty inner circle that throws your confidence out the window with thoughts like “I messed that up again”.  Reframe those interpretations with positive ones such as “that was a great learning experience, here’s what I would do different next time”.

3. Build your confidence through small wins!  This helps you build credibility and enhances your reputation.  Becoming more aware of how you sabotage your self-worth is the biggest step to overcoming a self-confidence issue.

Showing Up and your physical presence is about how you hold yourself and feel about you and who you are. Women have been socialized to fit in, to fit a “type” … hell no, you be you and be proud! End of story!  Be comfortable in your own skin, proud of who you are and what you believe in, you got this!

Here are some pointers for you to keep in mind:

- Check your posture. Shoulders back, chest out and head focused.

- Take up space at a boardroom table, don’t squeeze into the corner.

- Dress for the job you want not the job you have.  There is no room at the Leadership table for revealing clothing or loud screaming outfits, save those for the weekends!

- Make eye contact, especially when introducing yourself and smile.

- When you’re presenting or speaking in front of a group, think about who you want to be like when you’re at the front of the room, on that stage…sometimes it helps to visualize someone you admire.  Picture how they are dressed, how they stand, how they move around the room or stage, what their body language is saying, how they make eye contact, how they engage with the audience, how the tone of their voice changes while they speak on different topics or parts of their presentation.

Establish your unique voice and point of view. I’m not saying you have to shout and be loud, no quite the opposite actually. 

- Be firm in your delivery, know your stuff (even if you just learned it).  Don’t be a pushover and speak so softly that people struggle to hear you.  Here’s a hint… practice at home, record yourself and then listen to it over and over again until it is the voice you want to project. 

- Watch the language you use and STOP apologizing, that is so Canadian!!

- Eliminate doubt when delivering a message, instead of starting off with “maybe we can try this” shift to “I recommend this approach…” you will notice your words have more impact.

- Practice, practice and practice in front of the mirror and record yourself.

Build emotional connections because when you build an emotional connection you start to build trust and that is the foundation for respect.  Content is just that, content… people build relationships with people not content.

Bring your best self to everything you do!

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