Vistage speaker, Michael Allosso, visited both of my groups this week. His workshop, “You On Your Best Day“, is a wonderful experiential reminder of both what it means to have executive presence and when we have it, what it takes to use this presence effectively.

Executive presence, as defined by the Center for Talent Innovation, is a combination of the visuals; appearance, posture and dress; communication skills: words, body language, vocal tone; and gravitas or commands respect.

Once you have acquired this presence, Michael reminds us that without a dose of humility, confidence or presence alone often can create a perception of arrogance and can be intimidating. The result can be that feedback can be heard as criticism creating resistance rather than encouraging development and improvement.

So, what to do….

  • Back to Socrates from last week’s post: Socrates Was So Wise – begin with a question. Perhaps the first question may be, “Is this a good time to discuss X”?;  “Are you open to feedback on another way to think about this?”
  • Check in with your history with this person. Have you given enough of what Michael calls TSP in the past to earn the right to give constructive feedback? (TSP – truthful, specific, positive feedback, with emphasis on the specific, so the person knows that you respect them and their work)
  • Check in with how your feedback is landing. Watch the other person’s body language. Is your feedback landing as intended? If not, perhaps it is time for another question, such as “I am noticing… what is going on for you in this conversation; what are you hearing?”

In short, while it is the listener’s responsibility to hear feedback and take it in Accepting Feedback, it is the speaker’s responsibility, especially when the speaker is in a power role, also to listen, notice and provide feedback in a manner in which it can be heard.

Why Vistage Works

Elisa K. Spain


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