As a part of Women’s Day celebration, I decided to have a session on executive presence for women.
I strongly feel that women who project themselves with confidence have a better chance at success in all aspects of life. Research already shows that women are in minority in the corporate world and we need to really up our game. And one tiny step towards equality is for women to project confidence and gravitas that brings them up to men.
While a lot of people registered for the event and about 50% of them confirmed their presence (no pun intended) close to the event, an even smaller number turned up. It was disappointing at some level since people really don’t take free sessions seriously and that’s just sad.
But the session that we finally had proved that it’s not the numbers that matter but the unique experience of everyone in the room. With a variety of professions and at least a 100 yrs of cumulative experience in the same room, the discussions were very practical and application oriented.
We picked up concepts related to executive presence and let real life, personal stories bring out their relevance. We talked about women who inspire us and how their presence has made a difference to other women. The top three concepts that we focussed on were:
1. Power dressing: It is essential to look the part – and if we are trying to make our presence felt, this is a critical step. When in doubt, err towards formality. You could also carry shrugs or jackets along to be able to dress up or down depending on the mood of the event/meeting.
PRO TIP: Power dressing counts every single day that you go to work and not just for department or annual meets
2. Power Pose: Thanks to the research by Amy Cuddy, we can confidently use expansive postures to take up more space and change our physiology to feel more confident. Just get into big postures – as opposed to making yourself small – for 2 minutes before crucial meetings to feel more assertive.
Watch Amy’s path breaking TED talk here
Read more about 10 simple power pose tips that we can use everyday
3. Communication: Even Sheryl Sandberg confessed that she felt reluctant to voice her opinions in a room full of men. Women are conditioned to take the back seat and let men take charge. And this can be professional fatal in the boardroom. Women need to learn to be and sound more confident in high stake situations. Some of the tips women can use are:
- Sit at the head of the table
- Take up space with an expansive posture
- Stand up to speak
- Speak up
- Speak with certainty. Don’t dither
Here are a few more things we can do to foster gender parity in the workplace
As if the exhilaration of the wonderful discussions wasn’t enough, the power pose post vent viral on Linkedin and really made all this worth while. The post crossed 15K views over the weekend. And hit 19k at last count!
I am glad that this event garnered so many views. This might actually further my mission of empowering women to gain equal status. If you are a corporate or an HR head reading this and want to help your women gain confidence and equality, the program on executive presence is available all year round. Drop me a line here or email me on firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s lead our fellow women to equality. You can also comment below and I will get back to you.