You walk into a conference and don’t recognize a single soul. You quickly grab a seat in the back for an early escape and avoid making eye contact. You sit down and focus on your only available friend…your phone. Instead of reaching out to your neighbor sitting next to you, you shuffle your papers and check out Facebook notifications. You are isolated and feeling small. It’s time to regain your personal power.
I just finished giving a webinar yesterday on communication skills. The way it was set up was that I had to talk continuously for 75 minutes without a break with my slides. The only way to have interaction with the attendees was through a chat box. The first time I gave one of these presentations, I swore I would never do it again. It feels like talking to a lamp post. So why did I do it again? I decided to power up. My performance did a 180 and so did my reviews. It was the exact same presentation but this time I brought my power. So how did I do that?
Here ya go:
- Take on a power pose. I take on a power pose every time I have to speak or lead an important meeting. As written in the 3 Elements of Charisma, “Studies have shown that by simply standing in a Power Pose for two minutes, testosterone levels increase, while cortisol levels decrease, making you feel more confident and less stressed. When you feel more confident, you act more powerful.” So my default is to stand like Wonder Woman with my hands on my hips for two minutes. I suggested this to my webinar participants forgetting there might be men on the line and one of them sent a message “Is Superman OK?” I had to laugh. “Sure! Superman, Batman, The Hulk. It’s all good.” Pick your superhero and power up.
- Walk with purpose. I recently read Adam Braun’s Pencils of Promise, in which he starts each chapter with a mantra and in that chapter describes how he used it. He found himself trying to get out of Thailand and on to Nepal to meet his dad when he was gravely ill. He was sweating profusely and when he went through security his body temperature set off an alarm. The authorities told him he had to go to the hospital and pointed him to a woman. He mustered up his confidence, put his shoulders back, walked with purpose and approached the woman. He told her that the authorities wanted her to take him to his flight. She did. Crisis averted.
- Where you are, is exactly where you need to be. One of the most frightening experiences of my life was getting disoriented when I got off a subway station on the west side of Manhattan. Instead of heading to West End Avenue on 104th street, I headed towards Amsterdam Avenue. It was a hot, humid summer evening and EVERYONE was on the street. A crowd of young men started following me and were speaking a language I didn’t understand. When I realized I was going the wrong direction, I decided it would be a really bad idea to turn around. So I ended up putting my shoulders back and acting like I knew exactly where I was and ended up walking the full block (and it was one of those double wide blocks…it felt like an eternity) taking a left and walking all the way back on 105th street. The men eventually faded back and I made it to my destination. So when you walk in that conference and don’t know a soul; you’re exactly where you need to be. Own it.
- Set your intention. At a conference with Christine Kane before going on stage, she goes off alone and centers herself. She sets her intention. I now do the same thing. I set my intention that it’s all about my client. It’s all about the participants. I want them all to take at least one thing and find it useful. My intention is to serve. When I do that, it takes the fear away. My focus becomes about them and not me. Set your intention for your audience’s best outcome.
- Smile. I had the privilege of having Jackie Kellso instruct me at a Dale Carnegie class. They videotaped us speaking. Jackie kept emphasizing that I needed to smile. In the end, there were 7 video clips of me and the metamorphic change that happened after three days was amazing. When I smiled? The entire speech was enlivened. My body language changed dramatically. So when you walk into that interview? Or that high stakes meeting? Be sure to smile.
- Have a talisman. I have strange little habits. I drink coffee from a red cup when I have a big meeting planned. I have a particular necklace that my husband gave me that I wear when I need to feel powerful. I try and wear red if I’m going into a negotiation. I seem to recall that Ronald Reagan would call on the women in the press core that wore red. A talisman is a ring or stone that is believed to have magical powers. It’s like a rabbit’s foot. It doesn’t matter if does or doesn’t have actual magical powers. It just matters that you feel more powerful.
Using all these techniques to power up before and during a presentation is why that dreaded webinar turned around. I now look forward to it. I sit up in my chair with my headset on and smile. I know the folks on the line can’t see me but I am positive they can feel my power.