Charisma. That “it” factor that makes famous people famous and helps politicians win elections: is it something you just have? The authors of Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence (HBS Press) say it can be learned. The book lists a handful of tweaks to behaviour, presentation, and personality that will help anyone come off as the George Clooney (or Bill Clinton?) of the business world.
These are just a few tips from the book, summarized:
1. Ask insightful questions. Arm yourself by being as informed as possible so you come off as intelligent and inquisitive, not unprepared. Because there are no stupid questions, but there are some less smart questions.
2. Know your team. Make sure you take the time to talk about something other than business once in a while.
3. Stand tall. Literally. Watch your posture. Standing up straight speaks more to your confidence than you think.
4. Be flexible within reason. Don’t let yourself look indecisive, but do be willing to change course if that’s what makes the most sense.
5. Focus. Your mother was right, you shouldn’t fidget. You should also make solid eye contact with colleagues (just be sure to blink every so often).
6. Edit your speech. Think about smoothing out your manner of speaking and avoid “um” and “ah” when you can.
7. Look sharp. Where would Don Draper be without his cool, pressed suits? You don’t have to go that far, but a well cut blazer and some cool shoes create a strong impression. They won’t know why they love you, they just will.
8. Don’t be late. In fact, show up five minutes early for meetings, and never let anyone see you rush.