Title: Executive Presence: The Art of Commanding Respect Like a CEO
Author: Harrison Monarth
Publisher: McGraw-Hill, 2009
ISBN-13: 978-0071632874, 256 pages
Why is the lion king of the jungle? The reasons, says business consultant and executive coach Harrison Monarth, are his “impressive mane” and “even more impressive roar.” Though other creatures may be smarter or even bigger, the lion has a special blend of true power and “an image and related behavior” that convey that power. In today’s business jungle, image matters, too. If you want to rise to the top of your firm, whether you are a lion or a lioness, you must craft and maintain an “executive presence” by combining superior communication skills with the ability to “read” people accurately and influence their perceptions.
Explaining these techniques and more, Monarth’s ambitious work is dense with information and strives to cover a broad range of topics, some complex enough to warrant their own books. getAbstract recommends Monarth’s comprehensive advice to professionals who want to win the lion’s share of influence and power at their firms.
In the business world, talent alone won’t guarantee your success. Indeed, “not only what you know but how you manage perception” determines how high you will rise. To gain influence in your firm, build and maintain an “executive presence,” a personal image that inspires respect.
You might not think of yourself as a salesperson, but you are one. Whenever you attempt to persuade someone to see your point of view, you are selling. People can’t help but “pitch” their ideas, hopes, wants and needs to those around them. The pitch is at the heart of all “human interaction.” Ultimately, the success of your pitch depends on how your audience perceives you, not on your message, intent or any other factor.
What influences how someone interprets your message? People receive input through the five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste. To a degree, you can control what your audience members perceive through their senses, in that you can dress yourself a certain way, ensure that you smell nice, moderate your voice and so forth. However, once people absorb information, they filter it through five corresponding categories of perception. According to the discipline of “neuro-linguistic programming”, these are:
Meta programs: The way people’s minds work.
Belief systems: Their individual visions of the world.
Values: What they believe is good or bad, right or wrong.
Memories: The events and learning experiences that shaped their lives.
Past decisions: The information they gained via the results of their choices.
People apply these filters to incoming data. For instance, an environmental activist might stop listening to a speech after learning that the speaker is the CEO of a company that created an ecological hazard. This form of filtering is called “deletion,” because the listener entirely or partially blots out the message. People’s filters also “distort” messages to align them with their belief systems. For example, the activist might remain open to the CEO’s message based on the rationalization that it could help the community in a way that “outweighs” the potential environmental harm. “Generalization” occurs when people create personal “truths” based on their experiences. For example, if your boss consistently rejects your ideas, you might become pessimistic about pursuing new chances to share them, possibly even avoiding those opportunities or sabotaging your presentations…