5 social skills to boost your leadership presence


Do you want to be seen as a leader? Perhaps you know that leadership presence is inside of you, but you’re not sure how to uncover it.

Many business women feel this way. As a business etiquette consultant and entrepreneur, I often work with women to help them infuse more confidence, power and authority in their business relationships.

However the most common obstacle I see time and time again for women is they tell themselves,

“I wasn’t born a leader, so I could never be a leader”.

Here’s the truth: Nobody is born a leader. Leadership is a set of skills that must be learned and developed over time.

You can learn how to be a leader either through a lot of trial and error, or you can get a shortcut and train yourself in social skills for leadership.

In this article, I’m going to equip you with five important social skills for leadership so when you finish reading this article, you can immediately walk away with an enhanced understanding and ability to be a leader.

1. Build likeability

You might not associate “likeability” with leadership. Power and authority are the words you probably think of when you hear the word “leadership”. However to be a good leader, you must achieve a balance of positive leadership and powerful leadership. Likeability is how you create the positive leadership component. How can you build likeability? The most effective way to build likeability with others is to identify a similarity with others. This could be a similar interest, hobby, or business school. There are a myriad of possibilities in which you can discover similarities with others. The key is to start conversations and explore possibilities.

 2. Create your leadership look

Creating a leadership look is imperative if you want others to see you as a leader. Every time you attend a business meeting, see a client, or meet with a colleague, you want every person to associate “leadership” with you. Start by developing a signature look. Choose an item, colour or style of clothing that you wear on a regular basis in business. This could be a black business suit with a pair of red heels. Or, it could be a navy blue business suit with a vibrant scarf. Make sure your signature look conveys the message that you’re strong and powerful.

 3. Attend networking events with strategy and focus

Leaders are connectors. If you aim for leadership, you need to make networking a priority in your business life. Simply attending networking events is not the answer. You need to attend networking events with strategy and actually meet people. For example, before the networking event, create a list of people whom you want to meet. Don’t be afraid to be ambitious with your goals. If you want to meet the keynote speaker because she or he is the CEO of a company you want to work for, get ready to introduce yourself to that person.

 4. Connect with other leaders on LinkedIn

Leading on from the previous point, if you can’t connect with somebody in-person, your next bet is to try to connect with them on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a fantastic place to start a connection with other business people. After you initiate a connection with somebody, send them a personalised message commenting on something about their LinkedIn profile that stands out for you. If you can find a similarity here, that will absolutely work in your favour.

5. Learn how to start conversations with other leaders

Starting conversations in-person or on LinkedIn, with people who are already where you want to be in business can greatly impact your future business success. Approach each conversation with the mindset of simply making a connection. Too many times people immediately jump into sales mode when they connect with others on LinkedIn. They may justify this because they’re looking for a new employer or a new client. However the strongest and most beneficial business relationships are not developed with such haste. They are grown and nurtured over time. Learn how to start a casual conversation with your potential connection and have the commitment to see it as a long-term movement toward your leadership presence.

About Kara Ronin

Kara Ronin is a business etiquette and social skills expert. Her unique approach has been featured in TIME Inc., The Daily Muse, YFS Magazine, and many more. She is regularly interviewed on prominent podcasts and was ranked as one of the Top 100 Leadership Experts to follow on Twitter. You can get social skills training by Kara in her new video course, Business Etiquette 101: Social Skills for Professional Success

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