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Elizabeth Bellsey Marketing and Business Development Coordinator BAM Architecture Studio

Elizabeth Bellsey
Leadership Presence: What It Is and How To Get It Martha Huguet gave an informative and engaging presentation on Leadership Presence at the end of December. She began the session by defining leadership presence as the “ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others to motivate and inspire them to achieve the desired outcome.” This evolved into a discussion of the qualities that pertain to leadership presence, which included an air of gravitas, the ability to keep others captivated, a sense of authority and poise, that the person is trustworthy, calm and confident.

[expand title=”Click here to read more about December’s Leadership Lunch…”] Body language also had an impact on one’s ability to lead, and men and women are perceived differently in their body language. When in a situation where leadership presence is required, women should claim their space, monitor self-pacifying gestures, such as wringing their hands, and hold their heads straight rather than tilting them to the side. Men should look at people when they speak, vary their facial expressions, and act as a sounding board for solutions rather than as problem solvers. Another element of the conversation was inspired by a TEDTalk by social psychologist Dr. Amy Cuddy. A professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, she framed her lecture on body language and non-verbal communications of power, specifically “power posing.” In scenarios where people would benefit from a strong leadership presence, such as a job interview, leading a meeting, networking, or having difficult tasks or conversations, power posing enhances a person’s leadership presence. Power posing entails going into a room alone and striking a “high power” pose for two minutes. Examples of high power poses that anyone can use are leaning forward with your hands on a desk, or leaning back in a chair with your feet up on a table. A popular choice is the Wonder Woman pose, which involves bent elbows and resting your hands on your hips. Striking a power pose will increase your confidence prior to any situation, and in an experiment, people who struck power poses prior to job interviews were considered better candidates by the interviewers. Dr. Cuddy asserts that power posing can change people’s lives in meaningful ways – striking one of these poses frequently will heighten your overall confidence, and will improve the outcome in many of your situations. Learning about “power posing” was a wonderful takeaway from the discussion, as it is something everyone could begin incorporating into their lives right away. Check out Dr. Amy Cuddy’s TEDTalk here to learn more. Martha J. Huguet, CPSM, is the Director of Marketing at Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, a leading foundation engineering firm in New York City. An active SMPS member since 1999, Martha is currently the Co-Chair of the SMPS Mentor Program and serves on the Leadership Committee.[/expand]