By Dr. Claire Muscleman
In the world of insurance and financial services—a sector known for its competitive nature and high-stakes decisions—having an executive presence is not just an option; it is a requirement. Unfortunately, few are given a playbook to master this intangible yet invaluable skill. Today, let us change that!
Did you know that within the first third of a second of meeting someone, you have already decided whether you like them? This initial judgement often stems from their body language and energy. It is crucial to walk into a room confidently—shoulders back, head high, and with a warm, inviting smile. Ladies, embody that Big, Dynamic Energy (BDE); if you do not know what that means, ask a friend! 😉
One smile often sparks another. The ripple effect of a genuine, vibrant smile can set the tone for the entire interaction. Not only does smiling make you more likable, but it also enhances your overall presence. It is a simple yet powerful way to engage and connect, especially in the professional sphere.
Listening is an art. Reflective and active listening techniques allow you to truly engage with others. By pausing and giving your conversation partner a moment to think and respond, you are offering them a valuable gift—the gift of opportunity. This creates an inviting, participatory dialogue, rather than a monopolized conversation.
Interestingly, people are more likely to like you if they do a favor for you. This psychological phenomenon is known as the Thomas Edison Effect. So do not hesitate to ask for small favors when appropriate; it is a nuanced way to build rapport.
Eye contact is another non-verbal cue that commands attention. When conversing, focus on the other person’s eye color (without mentioning it). This will deepen the connection and make your interactions more memorable. It also helps your brain shift away from thinking about staring at the person uncomfortably and can soften your gaze.
Pay attention to how people treat those who can offer them nothing. This is a telltale sign of their character and whether you should invest your energy in them. How you leave people feeling is the end all be all of integrity, and it matters.
Do not rush. Make your statement, pause, and let it sink in. Use silence as a tool to help solidify your position. Take a breath and know you are grounded in the statement you have presented.
Sharing knowledge not only boosts your own understanding but also adds to your executive presence. Remember the mantra: See one, Do one, Teach one. I owe this one to Dr. Miranda Bailey from Grey’s Anatomy. She is so wise and also, she is right!
When you are trying to build rapport, ask people questions about themselves. This gives you a chance to listen actively and makes the other person feel valued. This can be done well with open ended questions allowing people the opportunity to expand their thoughts.
Your mood is a choice, not just an emotional state. If you find yourself in a bad mood, a simple trick like smiling for three minutes can flip the script. You can also throw on a song that lifts your spirits for a quick endorphin spike. Want a bigger impact? Dance it out. The movement, coupled with movement will release some of the feel-good chemicals in our brain to change your mood.
If you need someone to make a choice, offer options. This grants them a sense of control, making them more likely to cooperate. This is not only an effective method for children with vegetables (would you like carrots or peas), it is incredibly helpful with adults, especially those Type A personalities.
If you are making a request, using the word “because” can increase the chances of it being granted. Providing a reason adds weight to your ask. People have a better grasp on information if they understand the why behind an ask and are also more likely to buy in to what is being presented.
Last but not certainly not least, your self-talk matters. Boost your confidence by giving yourself three compliments every day while you look yourself in the mirror. This practice not only enhances your self-esteem but also fortifies your executive presence. For bonus points, end with a high-five. Trust me, it matters.