In leadership and in almost all business communication, the greater your gravitas, the more impact you will have. Indisputably.
Gravitas is defined as dignity, seriousness or solemnity of manner and, as with ‘gravity’, infers weightiness.
At some point in the dialogues of almost all of my leadership coaching engagements we (my client and I) explore this important aspect. I am deeply curious about the subject and observing the efforts and journeys people take to enhance their gravitas.
Within the content of each of my books are many notes that explore and suggest steps to boost your gravitas (particularly in The Impact Book). This Simple Note is intended as the starting point in your gravitas growth – The GAP – Gravitas Awareness Process.
That’s it, introduce a gap, a pause in your pattern behaviour.
When colleagues ask you a question or direct the conversation to, or at you; when a situation seems to be calling for your contribution or response – pause. Count to three; imagine three numbered helium balloons floating past; lightly place your attention on the numbers one, two and three. Your thinking needs to go nowhere else but on the numbers.
That brief gap provides ample time for your brain to process more of what is going on; the nature of the question asked; the other issues at play; your longer term intentions; how you are coming across in this moment; what your immediate reactive response is and what other responses you could choose. All in the 3-second gap.
At the same time colleagues will experience and interpret your gap as having been heard, that you are giving thought to the inquiry. They are likely to value your response more; tune in better; and experience your gravitas! Even if they jump into the gap and continue talking, better that than your response is over-talked and not heard.
The effectiveness of any further gravitas work you take on finds a way in and is enhanced through your gaps.
In mastering your gaps you will create the space to access your intuition.
Observe your habitual behaviours and consider:
· What do I do before I begin to speak? When I enter a room?
· What am I doing now, physically, and when actively responding or leading conversation?
· How am I holding myself? What might my body language communicate?
· Where are my eyes – what do I see/view?
By doing this you will increase awareness of your impact and gravitas, and naturally focus on brilliantly gauging and adapting:
· Pace and tempo
· Volume or brevity of response
· Stance and physical positioning
· Gestures and animation
· Eye contact
· Breathing and relaxing (e.g. drop shoulders; unclench jaw)
My hope is that this Simple Note inspires you to take action to immediately consider your gravitas and that you can find the next steps to enhance it. It is so important for your path, and the benefits of positive change here are so significant, that I am driven to remain in ‘explore and discover’ mode and write more on the subject.
The challenge of balancing heaviness and lightness, seriousness and humour, solemnity and playfulness will exist as your perennial leadership consideration. The weight of your gravitas lies in your ability to pause, heighten awareness and adjust.
Good luck and keep it simple.