The Power of Personality Workshop

I was told I don't have enough "gravitas" to "own the room." That said, I'm quite popular with GenY/Zs and they consider me a leader. Do I need to change my personality to please a GenX room?

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"Gravitas" is a loaded word, and frankly, a terrible one to use from a feedback perspective. I'd go back to the source and try to get them to be specific about your behaviors and their expectations. I'd also expect it to be a conversation that encompasses several months, not just a 15 minute chat.

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All professional speakers ask about their audience. Who are they, what do they do, their level. Is the culture this or that. You don’t present to the Board the same way you present to others. Gravitas includes setting up your credibility and authority. It’s also about poise. Speaking does require reading the room.

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Agree with Interpublic Group 1, understand your audience. It’s not changing your personality, it’s changing your frequency and learning how to read a room. EQ!

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I would add that, beyond the EQ element, several ‘practicable’ skills will invariably help you in these situations: Voice - Think about the way you speak; your timbre; your pronunciation; the speed and nature of your delivery. You don’t want to “boom”, “whisper” or to speak in monotone. Practice telling a story, emphasizing the dramatic moments. Pauses can be your friend too. The aim is to capture - and maintain - people’s attention throughout your presentation. Vocabulary - The worst mistake I believe many people make is that of over-intellectualizing. Our job is to sell ideas/products/brands. You can’t do that if no one understands a word you are saying. Take the complex points, then present them using simple, pertinent analogies. You’ll be demonstrating your ability to understand the tough stuff, but more importantly how to translate it so a larger customer base results. Humor/Charm - I’m not gonna lie, this is hugely subjective. That being said, a degree of self-deprecation peppered into your presentation at appropriate moments can do wonders. It demonstrates your humanity; that there is no “us and then”, but rather just “us”. Gravitas comes from an ability to own the room and to have yourself taken seriously. Ironically, by not taking yourself so seriously, and doing so publicly, you’ll find an audience more inclined to listen to you, because they’ll realize that you’re a person just like them. I hope this helps!

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You don’t need to change, but you can effectively adapt for relevancy. Gary V is a great teacher of this. He is who is is 100% of the time regardless of his stage.

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FYI. Once you have actual gravitas, your career is just about over. Unless you reach the C suite, experience and knowledge can easily be replaced by a younger, cheaper, more supple skinned junior. It’s a nasty business. Have a back up plan. Freelancing was mine.

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