New Leader's Circle, Leadership OptionsWould you like to practice "Playing High and Playing Low?"

These are some simple exercises you can practice to enhance your own physical presence and ultimately your success.
  1. Be sure to read the full article and watch the Deborah Gruenfeld video on what it means to Play High and Play Low. Notice when you should play each role and when you should not. Think about your own work. To what extent do you use your body with intention? When do you Play High or Play Low? When would you like to Play High and Play Low?
  2. In privacy, alternately adopt both stances for at least two minutes until you feel comfortable in each stance. Do this for a few days. After each practice, analyze your energy level, your enthusiasm, you level of creativity and your emotions. Do you see a difference?
  3. Work with a coach, colleague or friend to practice using these stances in conversation. For 90 seconds, talk to your partner. Assume that you have hired the other person to run some errands. Practice playing high to explain what you would like to have done. Then, allow the other person to give you the same directions as both of you alternate Playing High and Playing Low.
  4. Now, assume that you are welcoming a new hire to your business. You want them to be successful, and you want to be sure you work together effectively.  As you tell them about what to look for as they come to work for the first day, practice using the body language of playing low to build relationship with them. Again, play both roles so your partner has the opportunity to practice Playing Low with intention.
  5. Now, choose opportunities to Play High and Play Low in your work and personal life. What are the results?
Now let's look at another aspect of presence-- how emotions affect our ability to speak and seem authentic. This is an important aspect of building trust.
  1. Again, work with a partner. Both you and your partner get into a body of sadness and talk for at least one minute about something you are really excited about or are really looking forward to in the future.
  2. After both of you practice talking about something wonderful in the body of sadness, discuss how they felt as you talked and how you felt as they talked. Why was it uncomfortable for you?
  3. Then, with both of you in a body of happiness, tell something that made you very angry or sad.  Discuss how you felt as an observer and as the speaker. Why did you laugh?   What can we learn from this activity?

If you would like to learn more about leadership presence, particularly the Six Positions of Power and Leadership, please check out our Executive Presence Toolkit and Badge Program.