Full text of Want to Sound Like a Leader? Start by Saying Your Name Right by Laura Sicola TEDxPenn conference.
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One of the hottest topics in courses and books nowadays with regard to leadership communication is the concept of executive presence. What does it mean? How do you define it? And can it be taught or learned?
The Center for Talent Innovation identified three main pillars of executive presence: appearance, communication skills, and gravitas. Gravitas means things like “Do your words have teeth?”, “Are you able to make the tough decisions and stick with them?”
One of the missing pieces when you think about what’s integrated really between the lines of broad concepts like communication skills and gravitas is vocal executive presence, as I call it. It’s the missing link. How do you sound when you’re making those tough decisions? Does your delivery reinforce your message and establish the image that you want? Or does it undermine it?
What happens if I’m trying to diffuse a tense situation and I say: “Okay, everybody just calm down now, we need to reevaluate the situation.” At worst, I’m just adding fuel to the fire, and at best, you may later on gently suggest that I switched to decaf. It’s about how we connect. I end up working a lot with people who are preparing for presentations and for press conferences, and they make statements like: “We’re very passionate about helping children and improving the quality of our schools.” And I think to myself:”Really? Because you could’ve fooled me.”