Today's the day to present a business model, pitch a new product, secure an investor for new capital, run a meeting. When you walk into the room, you're going to need to own it. But you're not feeling it. Whether it's a poor night of sleep, storms in your personal life, illness, or something else non-business-related tying up your attention, there are reasons we don't wake up feeling all powerful every day. Time to summon power.
The psychology of power
Forbes names the most powerful people in the world each year, based on ideas of command, influence, net worth, connections and positioning, be it familial, political, or business. Powerful people get invited to the top news and media shows; they correct wrongs before wrongs are named, like promote equality on their boards and in their workplace; they change the lexicon and add new words to popular vocabulary.
The powerful are quoted--when they speak, everyone listens. And, says Forbes, the most powerful have powerful friends, are visited by the Queen, and get their mugshot on currency.
But most of us are not born as an heir to a royal family, business mogul or Hollywood riches. We're trudging through the valleys, finding the right mountain to climb. In our lives and businesses, we can be "commanding," an "influencer," and own a position that deems us powerful.
5 powerful qualities to adopt
When birthright isn't enough to bestow power upon your shoulders and the morning has been distracting at best, keep some of these tips in mind to portray power when it's important.
1. Appearance is everything. Pressed, clean clothing, groomed hair and nails, a fresh, clean face go the distance. Look your best even if you don't feel your best.
2. Speak when you have something to say, listen when you don't. The powerful are heard because their message is well planned and succinct. Experts also advise that when you're addressing a group, look at mouths rather than into people's eyes. Eye contact has been shown to lessen persuasion in the listener.
3. "Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power." -Lao Tzu. Approach people with an air of empathy and compassion rather than world domination. The powerful don't need to control or belittle people around them. They embrace the ability to accept outside opinion and step aside to give others the floor.
4. Project confidence. Apart from body language--squaring your shoulders, sitting up straight or standing confidently--speaking with purpose, staying positive, problem solving rather than problem identifying, and being in control of your thoughts and actions all show a person who is confident, rather than waiting on someone else's cue to take action.
5. Choose discomfort. When you're given the choice of seating, pick the less comfortable choice. Settling too deeply into comfort in a negotiating situation, when you're pitching an idea, securing capital from an investor, or persuading a client to use your services, allows the edge to soften.
Only a few are born with power. The rest, who desire, become. What do you do to summon power when you need it most?