When assessing an individual’s capacity to lead, one is often characterized as possessing the appropriate gravitas or, on the contrary, lacking this distinguishing, and often viewed as necessary, trait. It is a prized quality that spans all types of leadership roles – politicians and Fortune 500 executives alike are graded on this characteristic. It is so synonymous with effective leadership that even in pop culture we can all likely recall key movie scenes where fictional characters use their gravitas to emphasize pivotal moments. While we likely recognize it when we see it, if you are told you need more “gravitas” to be effective, many of us are left with “what on Earth does that mean” and “how can I get it”. At Speakeasy, we don’t subscribe to the notion that one either does or does not have gravitas. Though some certainly seem to come by it more easily, we believe that it is a skill that can be developed. For those looking to enhance this aspect of their communication image, we have broken down a few of the characteristics which comprise gravitas.
Keep in mind that gravitas is not a singular thing – it is a compilation of a variety of qualities that form an impression. In part, it’s about demonstrating confidence and projecting conviction about the topic at hand and to the people with whom you are speaking. When we experience gravitas in others it is when they take that confidence just one step further – that almost magical combination of both looking and sounding like “you mean what you say”. If you don’t look like you stand behind the words coming out of your mouth, how would you expect your audience to care.
An effective way of showing that you really believe in what you are saying is to say it with energy. This is far from just speaking loudly or quickly. This is using your voice, your eyes and your body to own the words and push them to your listener regardless of whether they are next to you at a table, in the back of a large room or across the world on a phone call.
When you can combine confidence and energy, you create a power behind your words and a presence with those you are speaking to. That connection is what will help you create the impression you need and ultimately “close the deal”. The idea, the product, or service you want them to take home with them is only as valuable as you make it… and that is directly related to your gravitas.