Here’s a question - what do you associate more with leadership – extroversion or introversion? Many of us think of leadership and extroversion as one and the same.  That’s because many subtle behaviors that signal leadership just seem to come more naturally to extroverts.

Susan Cain, in her wonderful book, Quiet, says we live in a world that can’t stop talking and where charisma reigns.  It’s a challenge for business leaders, many of whom are introverts themselves.  I should know, I’m one of them.

Executive presence—or showing up as a leader—isn’t about whether you’re extroverted or introverted.  Executive presence is fundamentally about confidence. Not the confidence you have in yourself, but the confidence you inspire in others, so they’ll want to follow where you’re leading.

Here are three tips introverts can use to command the room while being comfortably themselves:

1) Prepare to Speak Up –I often hear that my introverted clients don’t speak up in meetings.  That’s a mistake.  Senior leaders are expected to have a point of view.  Many introverts like to reflect before they speak, so winging it just doesn’t work.  Look at meeting agendas in advance and take some time to collect your thoughts.  You’ll feel more confident, and show it too.

2) Tell a Story – Storytelling is a way to connect emotionally, without feeling exposed or inauthentic. Tell a powerful story, and make a memorable point.   And as you tell your story, you’ll just naturally become more animated.  You’ll engage the audience and get them leaning forward in their seats to listen.

3) See Eye to Eye – Eye contact is incredibly powerful.  In the US, it sends the message that “I think you’re important enough to acknowledge AND I think I’m important enough to acknowledge you.” For introverts, who typically need time to warm up to strangers, making eye contact is a simple yet potent way to demonstrate executive presence.

If you’d like to see more articles or videos on executive presence or storytelling for business, visit our website at  I’m Margie Myers.  Thanks for watching!

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