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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.”
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!”
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:
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.
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!