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Bring It, Bitches! book cover

Oprah and Donald Trump have it. So do Lady Gaga and the Dalai Lama.

Richard Branson has it in spades.

Charisma. Leadership presence. The “It factor.” The ability to command attention, without saying a word. These icons “own the room”, whatever room they’re in.

And here’s the best part…you can, too.

Kelli Gilpin, consultant, coach and author of the new book, Bring It, Bitches! The Stop-Waiting-Start-Doing Guide to OWNing Your Room and Your Career, says that owning the room is a skill anyone can develop.

Here’s how she describes what it means to “own the room”:

“It’s how you present yourself to the world.  It’s how you handle a situation. It’s moving with confidence, sophistication, power, and quite frankly, a fair dose of swagger. The result? All eyes are on you, and you’ve got their full attention.”

Because owning the room is about confidence, creating rapport and a strong presence that commands attention, it’s a vital to being a successful entrepreneur, too. Want to attract media to cover your business recruit talent to your start up, convince prospects to come aboard as clients?

You need to be able to command the attention of others. Ya gotta own the room.

Bottom line? If you can’t own the room, you risk a terrible fate as an entrepreneur. Oblivion.

Gilpin knows what she’s talking about, having honed her own-the-room skills over a 20 year career in finance and consulting. More recently, as a strategy consultant, her client roster has included marquee names like Dell, Yahoo!, Bank of America, Comcast, PizzaHut/KFC/Taco Bell, AllState Insurance, Lowe’s, Abbott Laboratories, PetCo, and Swarovski.

The book is a fun and sassy manifesto, chock-full of real world advice and implementable tactics. It’s aimed at women, although much of the advice is equally applicable for guys.

Can someone learn to project confidence and presence, so that they own the room? Kelli’s answer: “Absolutely!”

Following are five key tactics from her book:

Tactic 1: Enter Strong

Before you enter the room, take time to get in the right frame of mind. Visualize. You really do have to see yourself “owning your room.”  You have to believe it.

Then, as you actually enter the room:

  • Stand tall.
  • Make and maintain direct eye contact.
  • Shake hands and introduce yourself, using your first and last names.

Tactic 2: Turn On Your Energy

Become more aware of your own energy. It’s actually something that you control. Kelli says, “Visualize flipping your energy ‘on’ like you would a light switch. Can you feel the difference? Try doing this before your next important meeting or presentation and notice the reactions you get.”

Tactic 3: Engage with your audience.

Listen, listen, listen to what the other person is saying rather than planning your next response. Watch for non-verbal cues…yours and those of the others in the room. Look for crossed arms, lack of eye contact, or emailing on laptop or phone. If you see this, it’s time to up your energy level so you can re-engage the attention of your audience.

Tactic 4: Build Rapport

At any presentation or meeting, completely focus on the people in the room. Like a laser. Making that connection is so important.

Gilpin advises, “I often mirror body language, which puts people at ease. I try to keep the tone lighthearted at first, and always ask a question that completely focuses on them.”

Tactic 5: Embrace the Silence.

Silence, used properly, is a secret weapon to OWNing Your Room.  People who are masterful in any kind of negotiation (including closing-the-sale conversations) make a bold statement or request and then stay silent – even when it becomes awkward. The other party will rush to fill in the silence because they feel awkward or uncomfortable. You may feel awkward or uncomfortable too when using silence, but just wait it out. You’ll be amazed at what others will share, offer, or agree to.

Exercise your “own the room” muscles and you’ll wear that intangible aura of leadership, attracting, engaging and inspiring clients and partners around you. How’s that for a competitive advantage?

You can get more tips to Own the Room at KelliGilpin.com. You can find her book on Amazon.com here http://amzn.to/PUAZAR.

Your fame boosting assignment:

This week, pick one of the five OWN the room tactics and really work it. Be conscious, find ways to practice it daily. My vote is for #5, using silence strategically. It’s one that many business pros have a hard time with because we’ve been trained to talk, talk, talk.

Now get out there and bring it, baby!


  1. BizSugar.com on November 1, 2012 at 10:44 am

    Unstoppable Presence: 5 Tactics to OWN the room…

    Oprah and Donald Trump have it. So do Lady Gaga and the Dalai Lama. What is it? Charisma. Leadership presence. The ability to command attention, without saying a word. These icons “own the room”, whatever room they’re in. You can, too….

  2. laura on November 6, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Lori~ Precious gems….I have to admit #1 and 5 allude me sometimes. I’ll remember these next week when I’m making a talk to new peeps!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 Thank you

    • Lori on November 6, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      I’m with you, too, Laura! Whenever I’m nervous, I forget about #5 and fill the silence. And one particular element of #1 – introducing yourself strongly, with your first and last name – is a habit more women could use. Good luck, Laura!

  3. Stephanie Faiella on November 6, 2012 at 4:53 pm

    I think this is great advice, whether you are networking, going on a job interview or simply in a social setting. When you carry yourself well, you give the impression of poise and confidence.

    • Admin on November 6, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Stephanie! I notice with myself that when I’m focused on projecting strong, confident energy and being present with the other person, I make stronger connections. I can’t wait to see your energy in person in February!

  4. Kelli Gilpin on November 6, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    I love reading your comments, Ladies! Thanks for the write up, Lori, and for helping me up my fame factor! And, thanks BizSugar.com for the “share”! Together, we need to hold ourselves accountable to “Bring It” at every opportunity! xo. ~KG (www.kelligilpin.com)

    • Lori on November 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      I can attest to the value I’ve gotten from your advice, Kelli – measured in confidence and greenbacks! Thanks for sharing your moxie with our tribe.

  5. Laurie Erdman | Chronic Wellness Coach on November 7, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Awesome advice Lori. I’ve got several networking and speaking events coming up and I will definitely use these techniques. I think for me, visualizing is always the most powerful.

    • Lori on November 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm

      Hi Laurie. Based on your success so far, visualizing is working powerfully well for you! I’ve loved watching you sharing your message.

  6. Sarada on November 7, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Thanks for this Lori! So important to do, and it’s good to be reminded that this stuff CAN be learnt – none of the ‘you’ve either got it or you haven’t’ nonsense.

    Everyone ‘has it’, but not everyone knows how to ‘use it’ – and these steps you’ve shared from Kelli’s book just made that process a bit easier!

    • Lori on November 8, 2012 at 10:33 am

      I agree, Sarada! While a few people are born with the “it factor” everyone can learn to increase their presence and impact to make stronger connections.

  7. Sandi Gordon on November 7, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    Oh I so love this. I’m attending a networking meeting tomorrow and CAN’T WAIT to use these! I haven’t used my first and last names (but can really hear how much stronger that is), and the energy switch is fantastic. I feel brighter already 🙂 Thanks so much, Lori!

    • Lori on November 8, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Thanks for the comment, Sandi! I agree – when I focus on turning on my energy switch, the connections I make are so much stronger. Hope you made great connections at your networking meeting.

  8. Jane Lovas on November 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    What do you think about 5 Tactics to OWN the room? <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I love it! I will work on not jumping in to fill the silence. Great tips.

    • Lori on November 8, 2012 at 10:27 am

      Awesome Jane! So glad that you found an OWN the room tactic to put into practice while you’re Kicking Your Fears in the Ass!

  9. Nancy Tierney on November 8, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    I gotta admit, I struggled with these a bit. I can see these 5 tips helping a certain kind of entrepreneur whose personality lends itself to turning on their energy, but I think the one ingredient missing here is staying true to who you are. I’ve worked with entrepreneurs who get so intimidated by social situations and public speaking because they think they have to own the room. It actually keeps them from just showing up and being real… and trusting that that is enough.

    Personally, I love these tips because they compliment my personality. I especially love the one about listening.. and the one about shutting up and just letting there be silence. And I think every entrepreneur can get something from these, as long as they make them their own and honor their own unique way of showing up.

    • Lori on November 9, 2012 at 4:59 pm

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Nancy. I agree – the pressure to be “on” can lead influence some people to act in ways that are unnatural. What’s funny about energy and presence is that it isn’t necessarily about being gregarious. Even the quietest among us can project strong, captivating energy that’s true to who they are.

  10. Nicole Cavanaugh on November 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    Lori, this is great! I’m terrified of public speaking and love the tips. I will definitely review this prior to my first speaking engagement!

    • Lori on November 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

      Hi Nicole! Thanks for visiting and commenting. Part of appearing more confident is acting more confident. (Sort of faking it ’til you make it.) The funny thing is, that acting in a more outgoing, confident manner actually affects your biochemistry, making you feel more confident!

    • Lori on November 15, 2012 at 4:40 pm

      Nicole, I’m so glad that I’m able to help you get closer to the fame your talents deserve!

  11. Phyllis Harbinger on November 10, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    This is so wonderful! I especially love #5 as well and I recall that our mentor, Fabienne uses this every time we are in her presence.
    There is much to learn from this! Thank you so much for sharing.

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