Updated: Dec 31, 2020
You’re a dangerous weapon. Did you know that? It is said that a person who knows how may always have a job, but the person who knows why will always be his boss. You, lady, are her. Your natural talents, skill sets, and preparation through education and/or experience has led you to this vocational space ON purpose, for A purpose.
“But, I’m not a boss, Tamara.” Oh, but you’re going to own the room like you are, and I’m going to teach you how.
Organizing, preparing, and implementing calculated action steps that create cohesive, purposeful, and impactful Women in Leadership Summits is only one of the many events that I have successfully executed. With over two hundred attendees, and growing, I've established leadership development programs for new employees and mid-level managers where owning the room like a boss is the name of the game.
We’ve already laid out the foundation for becoming a leader without the title in my previous blog, here. Now that you know leadership is about being and not doing, let’s commingle the action steps and outline how you can own the room like a boss.
1) Presentation Inspection
I understand that this can be a double standard. Some of your male colleagues may dress more casually, while women are often held to a higher standard. You, lady, are a professional. You know how to gauge your atmosphere and determine if you only need your fanciest blazer or that gorgeous pantsuit you just bought to do the job. But, when I mention presentation inspection, I don’t just mean your style of clothing showing off your professional demeanor. I mean how you carry yourself, as well. As I mentioned previously, you are in that vocational space ON purpose, for A purpose. With that in mind, it’s time to stand tall. Engage with your audience using eye contact, while reaching everyone in the room. Walk around. Pause for emphasis to let your audience meditate on a point you explained. Your body language communicates just as much as your words. Let that alone speak boldly that you are the authoritative figure in the room. They don’t just need to listen to what you’re communicating, but they also want to lean into it as well.
2) The Principal of Preparation
Preparing your content is only the first step to preparation. Now, it’s time to use critical thinking to uncover any obvious, and not so obvious, objections your audience may have. Put yourself in your audience’s context and look for loopholes in your arguments, proposals, or ideas. Observing things from this angle ensures that you will be prepared to answer objections that come your way. Make sure your points are coherent with evidence to support or justify your conclusions. Once you have all this content ready, it’s time to organize and rehearse.
There are several ways you can structure your information to keep your audience engaged. Some of those structures include:
- Chronological time-based narratives
- Sequential event-based narratives
- Climactic importance based narratives
Having your content structured makes rehearsal time effortless. Read your script out loud multiple times, even to the point of knowing your content by memory. This helps you establish your authoritative voice by not having to fret about losing your place. You have it all in your head.
3) Confidence In Your Conclusions
Lacking belief in your message and your conclusion shows. You manifest inferior energy. Your voice flattens. Your focus is more on the presentation than your audience. Not any more! It’s time to bring the passion back into your words. What you came to declare matters. Before you get in the room, ask yourself these questions, meditating on them until you truly become an advocate of your message.
- Do I thoroughly believe in what I have to say?
- Does my audience need to hear this?
- What’s the overall goal that will be highlighted and complemented through my conclusion?
It’s not time to state the obvious, lady. Paint a picture in the canvas of their minds with your words. Provide context and perspective that needs the light only you can shine on it. How you think of your message matters.
4) Set the Stage for Story
Sitting at my work desk, looking at the reports in front of me and scattered on the floor, I thought to myself “The odds are truly against me. I don’t have the connections, budget, or marketing that our competitor’s managers have.” That’s when I knew it. THAT was what was going to make my firm stand out from our competitors. Let me show you how.
Did that compel you to want to know how? I’m sure it did because I just created a picture where you could relate to defeat, but held on to hope and wanted to know how you would win. This is the power of a good short and sweet narrative that connects to your proposal or idea that captivates your audience. This piece isn’t mandatory, but it will boost your idea to something tangible. If storytelling is a difficult area for you, here are some prompts to help get you started.
- Your personal story
- Your company’s story
- Customer success stories
- Objection exterminator stories
- Lessons learned stories
- Inspirational stories
- Case study stories
As long as your story is brief and connects to your main point, your audience will be leaning in their seats waiting to hear your finale of how they end up winning.
5) Assertive, Not Aggressive
It’s time to break the cultural narrative that a corporate and professional woman is either a pushover and lets people speak over her, or that she’s aggressive and belittles others who disagree with her. Being the stellar specialist that you are, you may be called to change the culture in your organization. I’ve experienced and seen times where male counterparts cut off female speakers, overlook their authority by seeking someone else, or push others to the level of aggressiveness. The objective is to be assertive, not aggressive. How? Ask open-ended questions. It’s amazing how a bit more communication will clear a misunderstanding or show the frailty of an objection. Ask questions that create dialogue like, “How did you come to that conclusion?” “How would that impact our goals?” Open the line of communication and insert your expert knowledge. Your colleagues will observe your professionalism, along with your negotiating and leadership skills, and be in awe.
Who says you’re not a boss? You look like it, walk like it, talk like it, and lead like it. If you implement these principles along with your leadership mentality, you will own the room every single time. You’ll create a culture of dialogue and respect. And, you will be the one that others look up to as a boss, whether you’re one or not. I host a community of women that think like you and are ready to own every room they enter. It’s called The Conversation. Here we speak on real issues affecting corporate and professional women like you and provide a support system where we empower each other and cheer each other on. Click here to reserve your seat for our next session of The Conversation on November 12th, 2020. I promise you, you won’t want to miss it.