Commanding Presence and Your Legacy
This article is not only for people who still have a long way to go reaching their career goals. It is also for those of you who are already high achievers. You have battled and won the war (well, sort of). You have gained esteem in your callings. And perhaps you have reached the proverbial glass ceiling, of which a breakthrough is unlikely, though very much desirable.
So far, you have been doing fairly well. You have had a career plan and you are on the right path. Furthermore, you have gained expertise. Your specialized knowledge is of value in our society, and you are in an enviable position in your field. Yet, you feel that something is missing, the absence of which is holding you back, preventing you from realizing your full potentials. What is it?
Lack of Legacy
There was an extraordinary moment some while ago during a lunchtime keynote speech that I gave to 200 lawyers. I was surprised to see the Eureka effect that my audience appeared to be experiencing when I started talking about the legacy we would likely to consider leaving behind once we’ve reached a certain stage in our life. For about 30 seconds, those 200 lawyers, who were listening as they ate lunch and drank coffee, became utterly silent and still. I could hear a pin drop.
Here is what I said:
Many of you are in your 40s and 50s now. You’ve achieved most of your life goals, paid for your homes, risen to a level in your firm that you had hoped for, raised your children, and sent them off to university. So the question is, for the next precious one or two more decades that are left in your prime life, are you going to just do what you’ve been doing for the past 20 years? For all of us, at this time in our lives, the question is – “So, What now?”
Undoubtedly, the majority of my audience – who are highly accomplished career-wise, have reached a wonderful juncture in life, where work is less a necessity but more a willing exertion of their talents and expertise to gain satisfaction. For them, the time has, at last, arrived to think about a legacy to leave to the generations to come.
Whatever competitive spirit that has driven us up to this point and helped us to achieve major goals can be somewhat transformed. We have an opportunity now to make a contribution. Brilliant young professionals are not threats to our success – we can see them as protégés. Talented young professionals who are struggling now at a place where we have once been can be mentored, nurtured and encouraged. We can make contributions to the organizations we work for and to the profession in which we practice.
Embark on the Journey to Commanding Presence
Yes, you desire to break through the glass ceiling that blocks your professional ascendancy. Yes, you aspire to channel your still unflagging energy towards the making of legacies beneficial to later generations. So, how do you achieve your renewed ambitions?
Are you comfortable speaking about your expertise? This is essential to your success – if you can do it, that’s good – but it’s not enough.
Can you explain your specialized knowledge to colleagues and non-experts? If you can do this, you are on your way to success – that’s very good – but it’s still not enough.
Can you persuade your listeners while you are explaining to them? Now you are getting close.
Ultimately, you want to elevate your communication skills to a level higher than being merely adequate in exchanging basic needs, requirements, or specifics of tasks. On the higher level, you convert what you have learned about explaining specifics, analyzing or sorting data into mastery of persuasive communications that will contribute to the success and fulfilment of other people.
On this higher level, you speak to inspire. The ability to make complex things simple, to speak so people remember what you have said, and to inspire, encourage, reassure and affect the emotional state of mind of your listeners is what all highly successful professionals are able to do. I call it Commanding Presence.
The journey from expertise to Commanding Presence is challenging, but I promise you – if you truly love your area of expertise - it will be the most enjoyable, enriching and rewarding journey you could possibly make.
Check out our website for more information.
Three Major Consequences of Failing to Acquire the Ability to Speak Persuasively in Your Area of Expertise:
1. Limited Learning
Communicating your expertise is the highest level of learning available to you. Studies have shown that in addition to the traditional ways of study and experimentation, the act of communicating – especially teaching - provides us or gives us access to the highest possible level of learning.
2. Limited Leadership
If you aspire to any kind of leadership - from simply mentoring colleagues and leading teams to management and major leadership roles - you will be competing with colleagues who like you have experience, skill, positive attitude, empathy and vision. Many of your colleagues have these assets – only a few can communicate these qualities – and those who can communicate these qualities become leaders in their professions and in their communities.
3. Lack of Legacy
I once said to 200 lawyers at a lunchtime speech. It was an extraordinary moment; for about 30 seconds those 200 lawyers who were listening as they ate lunch and drank coffee were completely silent and still. I was frankly surprised. Here is what I just said, “Many of you are in your 40s and 50s now. You’ve achieved most of your life goals, paid for your homes, risen to a level in your firm that you had hoped for, raised your children, sent them off to university. So the question is are you going to just do one or two more decades of what you’ve been doing for the past 20 years? The question is for all of us at this time in our lives – “So, What now?” This is a wonderful time in the life of a professional – there’s an enormous amount of satisfaction to be gained. Whatever competitive spirit that has driven us up to this point and helped us to achieve major goals can be somewhat transformed. We have an opportunity now to make a contribution. Brilliant young professionals are not threats to our success – we can see them as protégés. Talented young professionals who are struggling now at a place where we have once been, can be mentored, nurtured and encouraged. We can make contributions to the organizations we work for and to the profession in which we practice. All of this contribution is related to communicating what we have learned and to analyzing and sorting it into persuasive communications that will contribute to the success and fulfillment of other people.
These are just a few quick tips on developing a Commanding Presence. For more training on developing a Commanding Presence, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our Commanding Presence Advanced Communication and Presentation Skills Two-Day workshops.
The workshop is designed to improve every aspect of personal communication skills, from strategy and text preparation to establishing rapport and overcoming speaking anxiety.
Participants are recorded 4 times with feedback from the other participants and personal coaching from the workshop coach. Each receive a USB of their video clips along with a letter of analysis from the workshop coach.
Upcoming Two-Day Workshop Dates in Toronto
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