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CLEO (Malaysia) - - CAREER SPECIAL -

e’ve all wit­nessed that mo­ment when a VIP en­ters a room and at­tracts in­tense, pos­i­tive at­ten­tion. Heads turn, and peo­ple grav­i­tate to­wards them. In other words, they have an X-fac­tor — what’s called the ‘Ex­ec­u­tive Pres­ence’. This is an amal­gam of qual­i­ties that true lead­ers ex­ude — a pres­ence that says you’re in charge and de­serve to be. “Some call it charisma; peo­ple call it charm,” says Freda Liu, pro­ducer and pre­sen­ter of the BFM show. Wanna move up­wards? Then you need to nail this. Ac­cord­ing to a study done by the Cen­ter for Tal­ent In­no­va­tion in New York, be­ing per­ceived as lead­er­ship ma­te­rial is es­sen­tial to be­ing pro­moted into lead­er­ship. In fact, the 268 se­nior ex­ec­u­tives sur­veyed said Ex­ec­u­tive Pres­ence counts for 26 per cent of what it takes to get pro­moted. In essence, it’s a foun­da­tion that will en­able your ca­reer to thrive. The good news is that any­one can learn the sub­tle tricks to this trait. “Once you’ve got the hard skills, com­plet­ing the pack­age is the soft skills, like de­vel­op­ing Emo­tional Quo­tient (EQ), work­ing on your im­age, etc, right down to the way you speak,” says Freda.

A leaf out of Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s new book called

ex­plains that there are three el­e­ments of “Pres­ence”: Grav­i­tas (how you act), com­mu­ni­ca­tion (how you speak) and ap­pear­ance (how you look). Grav­i­tas is the most im­por­tant to mas­ter. Show con­fi­dence in your abil­i­ties and knowl­edge by stat­ing your opin­ions boldly, speak­ing firmly, us­ing ap­pro­pri­ate body lan­guage and mak­ing de­lib­er­ate eye con­tact. Good com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills such as speak­ing firmly in low pitch, and main­tain­ing a smart well-groomed ap­pear­ance are all el­e­ments of as­sertive be­hav­iour needed for suc­cess. Whether you are meet­ing with your team, pre­sent­ing a pro­posal or deal­ing with con­flict, the link be­tween merit and suc­cess can be bridged when you are able to de­velop and pro­ject these qual­i­ties.

Ul­ti­mately, be aware of your­self and prac­tice, prac­tice, prac­tice. Good luck! Know­ing what works best for you en­ables you to pre­sent your­self in a way that can help to mo­ti­vate and in­flu­ence others. To be as­sertive is to able to ask for what you want, stand your ground and de­fend a po­si­tion in a way that does not di­min­ish others. Em­pa­thy not only en­ables one to recog­nise and meet an­other per­son’s needs, but also read sit­u­a­tions.

I’ve got this!

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