Decisiveness Enhances Leadership Communication & Presence

Are you a decisive person? And how can decisiveness enhance your leadership presence when you speak for business?

You can see the importance of decisiveness every day in the realm of business speaking.  Take business presentations, for example.  I’m sure that you’ve seen presentations that were lifeless or boring.  Sometimes this happens because speakers are afraid to use their top energy to engage their listeners:  afraid that using their top energy will make them appear phony if they’re not feeling a big emotion underneath the words.

Don’t be afraid of appearing phony.  You don’t have to have a big feeling in order to take a strong action.  Be decisive!

Here’s a story from my own professional life that provides some insight about the fear of appearing phony and the importance of being decisive.

Years ago, I had the happy privilege of being directed by James Earl Jones in a play called The Road to Rome, by Robert Sherwood.  It was an anti-war comedy, set in ancient Rome.  Hannibal’s Carthaginian army invades Rome.  I was playing Fabia, the wife of the Roman Emperor.  At one point in the play, Jimmy (we called James Earl Jones “Jimmy”) directed me to feint. My character was supposed to be so overcome when Hannibal’s army invades our home, that I fall onto the floor in a dead faint.

Now, as a young actor, I wanted this feint to look authentic.  I did not want to look phony.  And I was worried that I was not going to be able to do realistic-looking feint.

At every rehearsal, I was unable to fall onto the floor.  At every rehearsal, I said to James Earl Jones, “Jimmy, I’m so sorry; I’m having such trouble; I want this to feint to be realistic;  I don’t want to look phony!”  At every rehearsal, James Earl Jones said to me (in his beautiful, resonant voice), “Maria, just fall on the floor!”

I couldn’t do it.  Finally, on opening night (it wasn’t until opening night!), I made a decision.  I decided to throw caution to the wind and let go.  I decided that when it was time for the feint, no matter how I felt, and no matter how phony it might look, I was going to fall on the floor.

And that’s exactly what I did.  And the audience bought it.  And, not only did they buy it, but they laughed so hard that they almost fell onto the floor!

So, back to your business.  Ask yourself:  Are you waiting for a big feeling to hit you, before you

• use your top energy to engage your business listeners?

• speak up at a meeting to voice your own perspectives?

• make a difficult recommendation to senior management?

Don’t wait for a big feeling to hit you!   Be decisive.  Just fall on the floor!

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