Highlights for Executive Presence

But in the finals what distinguished one from another was all of the nonmusic stuff. The way they walked onto the stage, the cut of their clothes, the set of their shoulders, the spark in their eyes, and the emotion that played on their faces. All of these things established a mood either of tedium and awkwardness or of excited anticipation.
We learned that EP rests on three pillars: How you act (gravitas) How you speak (communication) How you look (appearance)
One surprise finding of our research is that, when it comes to communication, eye contact matters enormously. Being able to look your coworkers in the eye when making a presentation, or being able to make eye contact with the audience when making a speech, has a transformative effect—on your ability to connect, to inspire, to create buy-in.
Once you’ve demonstrated that you know how to stand with the crowd, you get to strut your stuff and stand apart. It turns out that becoming a leader and doing something amazing with your life hinge on what makes you different, not on what makes you the same as everyone else.
Like Bob Dudley, he or she projects an aura of calm and competence
Gravitas alone won’t secure you the corner office, of course: You’ve got to have the skill sets, the experience, and the innate talent to qualify for the job.
You will make mistakes. You will suffer the mistakes of others. Accidents completely out of your control will befall you. Each of these represents, however, a monumental opportunity to acquire and exude gravitas: to reach within yourself, at the height of the storm, for that eye of calm, and to speak and act from that place of clarity. Because when you demonstrate that your confidence cannot be shaken, you inspire confidence in others. At worst, you’ll win their forgiveness and forbearance. Very possibly, you’ll win their trust and loyalty.
“You want brutal optimism. Great leaders are brutally optimistic.”
But born leaders are made, oftentimes through their own systematic efforts. They live intentionally, guided by a set of values or a vision for their lives that compels them to seize every chance to put their convictions into practice. We gravitate to them because they telegraph that they know where they’re going—a rare and intoxicating certainty that most of us lack.
Smile more
Show humility
Stick to what you know
Be generous with credit
Surround yourself with people who are better than you
Empower others’ presence to build your own
Snatch victory from the jaws of defeat
Drive change rather than be changed
First, communication is not so much what you say but rather how you say it. And this you can condition and control. The tone and timbre of your voice; your choice and use of words; your inflection, articulation, and delivery; and even your body language determine what and how much your listeners take in—and what overall impression of you they will form and retain as a result. Other people’s perceptions of you are very much yours to shape.
Your communication skills, both verbal and nonverbal, are what ultimately win you the attention and mindshare of colleagues, clients, and friends.
what makes a speaker persuasive are elements such as passion (27 percent), voice quality (23 percent), and presence (15 percent)
Executives I interviewed cited inarticulateness, poor grammar, and an off-putting tone or accent as examples of verbal tics that undermine EP.
“Maybe it’s the weight of history or the depth of ancestry, but a British accent adds to the impression of heft,”
And here’s why: “Shrill voices have that hint of hysteria that drives men into a panic,” says Suzi Digby, a British choral conductor and music educator. “Women with a high-pitched tone will be perceived as not only unleaderlike but out of control.”
It’s imperative you cut to the chase, be highly selective with your data, and whenever possible share an illustrative story.
constantly referring to lists, reading your notes, using eighty-seven PowerPoint slides, shuffling papers or flip charts, and putting on your glasses the better to see what you’re reading are all actions that detract from your gravitas because they focus attention on your lack of confidence.
Know your material cold so that you needn’t rely on notes, and needn’t rely on your glasses to read notes. This will free you up to establish eye contact with the audience. And nothing is more important than eye contact
Demonstrating that willingness impresses people: It shows you have absolute command of your subject matter, and it signals to your audience that you’re so invested in the importance of your message that you’ll scuttle your carefully prepared speech to make sure they grasp it. That’s a recipe for engagement.
In this regard, professionals of color may hold an edge. In focus groups we conducted, countless participants confirmed that being a minority is itself a relentless exercise in reading others in order to anticipate and overcome reflexive bias or unconscious resistance.
“It’s the conversation before the meeting that establishes whether or not you’re worth listening to in the meeting,” one senior executive pointed out—a skill she refers to as “mastering the banter.” It shows, she explained, that you’re part of the larger conversation, someone who’s “one of the tribe.”
No one even bothers to assess your communication skills or your thought leadership capabilities if your appearance telegraphs you’re clueless.
In interview after interview, senior leaders told me that failure to come through on the grooming front signals either poor judgment or lack of discipline.
The signature look of the rock stars of this advertising extravaganza comprised two-day-old stubble, bespoke shorts, and designer flip-flops.
“Pick the most senior nonexecutive member of the board”—the director named the member—“and pick a fight with him. Make a challenging remark. Point out something as absolute rubbish.”
Her manager explained that, by never asking for help and not explaining to others what she was doing, Buck Luce was inadvertently signaling that (1) her agenda was more important than theirs and (2) she didn’t value other perspectives.
“It’s so easy to think that every slight might have something to do with your background or gender. It’s not to say there are no real snubs, but I’ve found that more often than not somebody’s coming from a place of ignorance rather than bigotry. If you’re overly sensitive to the possibility of intentional slights and withdraw as a result, you freeze yourself rather than move forward.”
Take a deep breath, walk into the meeting, and present with composure and professionalism, while exhibiting graceful gra
Ignore their questions, hoping they will eventually stop interrupting you and catch up with the rest of the
Standing up to speak with integrity, clarity, and confide
color with the speech impairment because she is clearly the better choice, as her performance measu
You have a glass of water just before you are announced and approach your audience with a welcoming smile, stand
this situation as a professional team
Initiate an off-the-cuff and off-the-record, casual conversat
assertive when speaking in front of the panel as they will find her grace and sub
The authentic and appropriate golf shirt which brings attention to what you migh
More than anything, how we look translates into respect—for ourselves, for others

Highlights for Cosmopolitanism

It’s important to insist, however, that to say that Muslims should go to Mecca for this reason isn’t to agree with Muslims. It is to give our reason for them to do something that they do for a different reason.
We go astray, similarly, when we think of a moral vocabulary as the possession of a solitary individual. If meanings ain’t in the head, neither are morals. The concept of kindness, or cruelty, enshrines a kind of social consensus.
There is nothing unreasonable, then, about my kinsmen’s belief in witchcraft. They think only what most people would think, given the concepts and beliefs they inherited; if you grew up with their beliefs and had their experiences, that is what you would believe, too.
If we are to encourage cosmopolitan engagement, moral conversation between people across societies, we must expect such disagreements: after all, they occur within societies.
Reasoning—by which I mean the public act of exchanging stated justifications—comes in not when we are going on in the usual way, but when we are thinking about change. And when it comes to change, what moves people is often not an argument from a principle, not a long discussion about values, but just a gradually acquired new way of seeing things.
There are Muslims, many of them young men, who feel that forces from outside their society—forces that they might think of as Western or, in a different moment, American—are pressuring them to reshape relations between men and women. Part of that pressure, they feel, comes from our media. Our films and our television programs are crammed with indescribable indecency. Our fashion magazines show women without modesty, women whose presence on many streets in the Muslim world would be a provocation, they think, presenting an almost irresistible temptation to men. Those magazines influence publications in their own countries, pulling them inevitably in the same direction. We permit women to swim almost naked with strange men, which is our business; but it is hard to keep the news of these acts of immodesty from Muslim women and children or to protect Muslim men from the temptations they inevitably create. As the Internet spreads, it will get even harder, and their children, especially their girls, will be tempted to ask for these freedoms too. Worse, they say, we are now trying to force our conception of how women and men should behave upon them. We speak of women’s rights. We make treaties enshrining these rights. And then we want their governments to enforce them.
as the bearer of some bottles of Dutch schnapps (for several centuries now an appropriate gift for a West African royal)
I live a long way away from the home of my earliest memories. Like many, I return there from time to time, to visit family and friends. And, again like many, when I am there I feel both that I do and that I don’t belong.
Cosmopolitans think human variety matters because people are entitled to the options they need to shape their lives in partnership with others.
The problem for Mali is not that it doesn’t have enough Malian art. The problem is that it doesn’t have enough money.
There is no good reason, however, to think that public ownership is the ideal fate of every important art object.
However self-serving it may seem, the British Museum’s claim to be a repository of the heritage not of Britain but of the world seems to me exactly right.
It is a fine gesture to return things to the descendants of their makers—or to offer it to them for sale—but it certainly isn’t a duty. You might also show your respect for the culture it came from by holding on to it because you value it yourself. Furthermore, because cultural property has a value for all of us, it can be reasonable to insist that those to whom it is returned are in a position to take trusteeship; repatriation of some objects to poor countries whose priorities cannot be with their museum budgets might just lead to their decay. Were I advising a poor community pressing for the return of many ritual objects, I might urge it to consider whether leaving some of them to be respectfully displayed in other countries might not be part of its contribution to the cosmopolitan enterprise of cross-cultural understanding as well as a way to ensure their survival for later generations.
My people—human beings—made the Great Wall of China, the Chrysler Building, the Sistine Chapel: these things were made by creatures like me, through the exercise of skill and imagination. I do not have those skills, and my imagination spins different dreams. Nevertheless, that potential is also in me.
Uncle Aviv, though, seemed to be equally open to people of all faiths. Perhaps that made him, by the standards of some of today’s noisiest preachers of Islam, a bad Muslim. But it also made him quite typical of many Muslims in many nations and at many times.
Those we think of as willing to claim that not everyone matters—the Nazis, the racists, the chauvinists of one sort and another—don’t stop with saying, “Those people don’t matter.” They tell you why. Jews are destroying our nation. Black people are inferior. Tutsi are cockroaches. The Aztecs are enemies of the faith. It’s not that they don’t matter; it’s that they have earned our hatred or contempt. They deserve what we are doing to them.
So-called realists about international relations often say that our foreign policy should pursue only our own national interest. They sound as though they’re saying that nobody matters but our own fellow countrymen. But if you ask them whether they think that we should engage in genocide if it is in our national interest, they typically deny that it could be in our national interest, because our national interest is somehow internally connected with certain values. To this line of response, I say, “Good. Then one of our values is that other people matter at least enough that we shouldn’t kill them just because it suits us.”
Still, if people really do think some people don’t matter at all, there is only one thing to do: try to change their minds, and, if you fail, make sure that they can’t put their ideas into action.
This constraint is another that the Shallow Pond theorists are indifferent toward. They think that it is so important to avoid the bad things in other lives that we should be willing to accept for ourselves, our families and friends, lives that are barely worth living.
For if so many people in the world are not doing their share—and they clearly are not—it seems to me I cannot be required to derail my life to take up the slack.
Part of the strategy of Unger’s argument is to persuade us that not intervening to save someone because we have something else worth doing is morally equivalent to killing him in the name of those other values. We should resist the equation.
But responding to the crisis of a child dying because her frail body cannot absorb fluids faster than they pour out of her is not really saving her, if tomorrow she will eat the same poor food, drink the same infected water, and live in a country with the same incompetent government; if the government’s economic policies continue to block real development for her family and her community; if her country is still trapped in poverty in part because our government has imposed tariffs on some of their exports to protect American manufacturers with a well-organized lobbying group in Washington


Please let’s never talk about GitFlow ever again other than with stories like this of how we moved people away from it.

Some teams will be willing to try something else and see how it makes their lives radically better and others will refuse and put their heels in the sand.

Sure there are reasons why people react in a certain way, why some people are protective or conservative but those reasons are not destiny and everybody can choose agency and make things better.

What choice will you make?