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Executive presence is not just an act
But you can learn how to improve your executive presence from an actor (among others).
Kate Nugent is a consultant and coach as well as a facilitator and Director of Product & Training for the Ariel Group, Linkage faculty member, and an experienced actor who has taught acting and improvisation for more than 15 years. She uses the skills she developed on the stage to help leaders develop the foundational skills and behaviors of executive presence and shares some valuable insights about the importance of presence in virtual meetings.
“What we’ve found is that the ability to be present is your greatest ally in this brave new world of virtual communication,” she writes. “Here are some strategies for staying present when you are leading a virtual meeting or webinar:
- “Take five minutes before you log on. An actor would never walk on a stage cold. They always take time to get present before they perform, and let’s face it, you are about to engage in a mini-performance. Take three deep breaths, clear your desk and close any windows you don’t need open. This ritual will clear your mind and help you engage in the task at hand.
- “Over-communicate. When people are logging on or calling in, make sure to greet them and let them know the process, i.e. “Good morning! We’ll be kicking off in just a few minutes, once we have critical mass on the phone. Thanks in advance for muting your line.” It’s a way to infuse the meeting’s kick-off with energy instead of dead space. If you can see the attendee names, greet them by name.
- “If you can’t fix it, feature it. If you get feedback that the video is out of sync with the audio on the streaming video, let everyone know: “I’m getting some feedback that my video is out of sync with the audio; we’re using a lot of bandwidth here, so that’s why you’re getting the ‘dubbed foreign movie effect.’” As long as your audience knows you’re okay with it, they’ll be okay with it.”
Don’t miss out on the chance to learn from Kate and the rest of Linkage’s faculty at the Leadership Summit for Women in Academic Medicine and Healthcare taking place in Ann Arbor, Michigan, later this month.
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