Executive Presence for Female Leaders

5 Minutes

Our London team recently ran an exclusive session with Mark Albas of Arcadia Consulting and ...

Our London team recently ran an exclusive session with Mark Albas of Arcadia Consulting and a select group of HR professionals from our community on ‘Empowering Female Leaders’. Mark shared his key tips on gravitas, physical command and communication skills. Reflecting the format in which many of our meetings still occur, there was a focus on virtual presence. The session was very relevant and interactive for all of those involved, Mark took points of concern from each participant and coached them through action points.

Below are some key takeaways: Your posture when delivering a speech virtually

Step 1: Sit on the edge of your chair with one foot in front of the other

Step 2: Push down on your toes This helps to align your posture, your toes are also connected to your presence, so by pressing down on your toes it tells your nervous system that you are grounded, stable and safe.

Step 3: This is a general rule for virtual presence, to make sure you are the perfect distance away from the screen you need to put your hand above your head and the top of your camera tile should slice through the centre of your hand. Too much hand = too far away Not enough hand = too close

Step 4: If you have a critical virtual meeting or conference from home, make sure to wear shoes, to make you feel grounded! Gestures When talking in a group, people trust physicality the most so gestures are important, a model that Mark shared is The 4 Archetypes. Motivator: This is a good opening position, its friendly, and approachable and draws people in, bring your arms up and make them open, away from the body, showing welcoming body language.

Sargent Major: This is strict and to the point, make your hands about 10cms apart stay fairly close to the body and move up and down to get your point across.

Professor: You’re going to bring one hand in front of the other from the body outwards, like the story is going on and on. Again, this is a heavy gesture, to get a point across.

Counsellor: Hands towards the body, really show that you feel for them. This is a great structure to follow when you’re trying to get your point across, it really helps with gravitas, if you struggle with public speaking having regular gestures that you follow helps you to claim the space and feel more comfortable rather than trying not to use your hands.

Eye contact We all know that eye contact is key when trying to connect with someone, but how do you do that in a virtual world? It’s hard to make eye contact with anything but your camera but Mark gave some great advice for this, by keeping Zoom on gallery view you get that boardroom feel which allows you to move your head from person to person as you speak. Not only does this help you to think about what you’re saying it also allows you to forget about the camera. With Zoom anxiety being very prevalent at the moment forgetting the camera is there is a bonus. Don’t worry about how you look, focus on everyone else, moving your head from person to person around 8 seconds per frame, love yourself and use the camera as a coach rather than attacking yourself.

Breathing: One of the top tips for keeping your cool is to breathe well whilst you present, pay attention to your breathing, think about your breathing. Rather than talking on an in breath, focus instead on talking on an out breath, it brings your energy to your centre and empowers your voice.

Blushing: This is a common problem for many people, especially when talking in front of a group of people, a great tip to keep flushing subsided is to keep one hand on the side of your chair, push down as hard as you can on the one hand and breathe with your stomach. This allows any nervous energy to travel to your hand rather than flushing to your face.

Communication structures The last tip Mark shared was about communication, sometimes it’s hard to get a point across but the best way to do this is to keep to a story telling structure; situation, point, relevance. As you do this give the person you’re talking to a purpose, give them relevance and keep it personal. Keeping it personal and telling a story helps to increase productivity as the person will relate to you and you have more chance of them listening to your business points as they are more engaged. Another tip Mark shared was that when you are on the spot and are unsure what to say, enunciate and over exaggerate the end of the word, this gives you a chance to think about what you want to say and trust yourself that you know what you’re talking about. We would like to thank Mark for a great informative session in helping us to empower our presence and build our confidence in every day meeting situations.

If you would like to connect with Mark Albas you can do so at mark.albas@arcadiaconsulting.com or on LinkedIn and you can follow Arcadia Consulting here.