PRACTICE THE SIX POSITIONS OF POWER AND INFLUENCE
The following activities, which workshop participants have enjoyed doing, will give you the opportunity to practice the Six Positions of Power and Influence.
As you practice, assess how comfortable you feel taking on each of the roles. Consider when to use these six positions in your interactions. Typically, we feel more comfortable in one or two and much less comfortable in the others. The presence that feel less comfortable are the ones you want to practice most often.
You can use the Executive Presence Quick Guide as a reference for practice and review.
Mindfulness means being aware and in the moment. It also means to be fully present. Mindfulness means much more than the practice below, but this practice can help you to get in touch with being more mindful in your daily activities.
Begin your physical practice with mindfulness or centering, which for many of us is the most difficult Leadership Presence to maintain. I have explained why mindfulness is important in this article. Please be sure to read it before you proceed.
Practice centering, mindfulness or meditation daily for three weeks. It is very relaxing to practice to practice to soothing music. I particularly enjoy R. Carlos Nakai, Deuter or other New Age-y artist. What are the results?
CENTERING AT REST
While seated, take a deep breath, and gently close your eyes. Place your feet flat on the floor, and push your back into the seat behind you so you are fully supported and relaxed.
As you focus on your breathing, let your chest remain still. Use the muscles in your abdomen to draw air into your body. Push those muscles out and then draw them in. Take a very deep breath...deep down into your abdomen. As you draw the air into your relaxed body, move your awareness to your toes.
Imagine molecules of the air you breathe nourishing your toes and bringing energy to your feet. If you feel tension, release it while letting your feet absorb the oxygen that nourishes every cell of your body. Wiggle your toes. Move your body slightly to accommodate the feeling of relaxation and nourishment.
Let your energy and consciousness move to your ankles. Enjoy the sensation as you feel energy move into the front and then the back of your legs. Experience the pleasure of bringing relaxation and renewed energy to your knees and thighs. Think of the oxygen you are breathing as it nourishes every cell in your feet and legs.
Slowly move your awareness to your thighs, and then to your hips, relaxing each muscle as you move your attention upward. If there is tension or soreness, allow it to evaporate into the space around you . . .
Now, move to your lower abdomen . . . recognize that this is the center of your body. It is from this part of your body that you want to experience your energy and presence.
Maintaining a feeling of centeredness, imagine the molecules of oxygen moving to the cells of your abdomen and chest . . . and then to your back. Enjoy each peaceful breath as you continue to draw nourishing molecules of oxygen into your body.
Now, move your awareness to your chest . . . and then to your shoulders. If you feel tension there, release it as you draw cool breaths of fresh air into your lungs. Move your consciousness to your upper arms and then your lower arms. Scan your body for tension or soreness. Relax your hands, and let the energy from each successive breath flow into each finger. Feel the tension go out of your body through your fingertips.
Now, move your awareness and energy to your neck. Allow your head to move until it has just the right balance as it rests on your neck. Imagine molecules of oxygen nourishing your throat and neck. Slowly, bring your consciousness to your head, face, eyes and mouth. Recognize and release any tension in your face. Continue to breathe deeply, and fully enjoy this state of relaxation as you take a few minutes to let the oxygen you breathe bathe each cell of your body.
When you are ready, move your attention slowly down your body until it reaches your toes. Slowly open your eyes as you prepare to drink in all the possibilities today has to offer.
CENTERING IN MOTION
As you begin walking, pay attention to your breath, thinking first of your feet. Walk for a number of yards simply enjoying how your feet feel as they touch the pavement or ground under you. Relax. Concentrate on your ankles, being aware of bending them as you walk. As you focus on your ankles, return your attention to your feet and enjoy how both feet and ankles work together.
After a number of yards, move your attention to your lower legs, focusing on the muscles and blood vessels as they move and become more energetic. Shift your attention from one leg to the other, experiencing the way your legs move with your ankles and feet. When your attention shifts to your knees, experience how your legs swing from them as you move forward. Feel the movement and the sensations of your lower legs.
Then let your attention move to your thighs, paying attention to the sensation as you imagine the blood and oxygen flowing through your veins and muscles. Tense your thigh muscles to experience how they interact with the rest of your legs. After walking for a few minutes with your attention on your legs and thighs, move your focus to your hips and lower abdomen. Imagine your physical energy centered in your physiological center just below your navel. Expand that energy to include your entire trunk.
Continue to draw energy from your feet and legs as you monitor your breathing and deepen your relaxation.
After focusing attention on the lower part of your body for a few minutes, move it to your diaphragm and lungs. Experience the movement of your chest as you inhale and exhale. With the goal of mindfulness, focus on the time between your breaths—being fully aware of time and place. Then, turn your attention to your shoulders and arms, taking pleasure in the movement of your arms as blood flows through your upper arms, forearms, and then to the tips of your fingers.
When you focus on your neck, move your attention from front to back and side to side moving your neck as you walk. Take a scan of the rest of your body to experience fully the energy that comes from your movement.
Then, turn your attention to your head as you experience sensations in your face, ears, scalp, top of your head, and nape of your neck. Once you complete a full scan of your body, begin to attend to your surroundings. Maintaining the sense of connection with your body, notice the objects and sounds in your path—grass, sidewalk, trees, buildings, birds and the sky. Look at them with appreciation as you continue to breathe deeply and enjoy the opportunity to walk and enjoy all that is around you.
Smile. Experience gratitude in your life.
If you click on the link, I have described the Presence of Stability more fully in the article.
Read the article to understand its benefits and its uses. Then practice alone each day for a week. When you feel comfortable in this physical and emotional presence practice in public.
Stand erect and look about with a somewhat regal posture. With shoulders back and eyes kind and caring, survey your kingdom. Hold your hands out slightly as if protecting people around you.
Practice while listening to powerful music such as “Like a Rock” by Bob Seger, processional music such as Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks, or other marches or processionals.
After some independent practice, go to a shopping mall or other busy location and assume this attitude and presence. Do not be surprised if someone approaches you to ask for assistance.
I have described the Presence of Resolution more fully in this article. Read the article to understand its benefits and its uses. Then practice alone each day for a week. When you feel comfortable in this physical presence, practice in public.
Think of a mission or goal—something you care deeply about accomplishing. Lean forward slightly with eyes hardened and focused in the distance. Hold your hands in front of your body slightly tensed as if in preparation for confrontation.
Complete the following sentences in a strong and powerful voice:
“We will succeed,” or “I will not allow . . . to happen.”
Practice this while listening to music with a strong and powerful beat such as the theme songs from the movies Rocky or Chariots of Fire.
This article describes the Presence of Flexibility. Read the article and then practice alone each day for a week. When you feel comfortable, practice in public.
Practice the body of Flexibility by breathing everything in. Look around as if sensing everything in your surroundings. Relax your body. Allow your face to show a look of wonder. Raise your hands toward the sky as if realizing that ideas and opportunities may come from anywhere. Ask questions. Be open to possibilities.
Musical suggestion: “Imagine” by John Lennon, “A Kind of Magic” by Queen or “Wildest Dreams” by The Moody Blues.
After practicing alone with music, practice around other people. Convey a sense of wonder as you read a story to a child. Smile and interact with a group as if you do not already know any of the answers.
I have described the Presence of Connection more fully in this article. After reading the article, practice each day for a week. When you feel comfortable, practice in public.
Relax your eyes, making them soft. Smile very slightly. With body fully relaxed and hands to the sides, lean forward slightly as if inviting someone to join you.
Practice to music such as Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” or “You are the Sunshine of My Life.”
Then practice this body disposition when with others being sure to look into their eyes.
I have described the Presence of Nurturing more fully in this article. Read it; then practice this physical and emotional presence for a week. After you feel comfortable, practice when you are with another person who needs your ear and your attention.
If you are fortunate enough to have a baby or young child around you, notice the body and emotion that you assume when helping him with a task. Lean slightly forward. Focus on his face as you consider his progress.
Using this same body, emotion and sense of concern, listen and talk to adults in an adult voice when trying to help them solve a problem or find a solution.
Practice to musical selections such as “I’ll be There” or “Stand by Me.”
MAKING REQUESTS & OFFERS
In addition to meetings and events, it is important to think about who you are when you are making important requests or offers. Your presence is particularly important to your success.
Think of a request or offer you would like to make of someone important in your life. First, practice this request in front of a mirror using an appropriate body disposition. Then, make the actual request using the body disposition you selected.
Analyze the results.
When you make a request or offer a second time, how will you change your physical presence.
Practice activities adapted from Connect: Affective Leadership℠ for Effective Results and included with permission.