36 | Developing Leaders Issue 34: 2020 Viewpoint Physical presence – what message do you send without saying a word? • One of my clients in a global consulting firm had a habit of folding his arms and holding a stern expression on his face. Internally, he was focused on high execution. Externally, others were experiencing him as overbearing and intellectually superior. • He put into practice a simple way of showing up: Be Present and Open. • This involves letting your arms hang at your sides. Then turn your palms out, open your shoulders and allow a smile to emerge. • Try it out in private first, then put it into practice for yourself. See what happens. It is important to note that in our effort to demonstrate confidence, we may inadvertently begin to become over-bearing. This can show up as dominating the conversation, giving all the instructions and not allowing others to speak. Leaders who are aware of the impact of their presence on others balance confidence, engagement, and inspiring elements with a sense of approachability, self-awareness and relatability. Rob Salafia is the author of ‘Leading From Your Best Self: Develop Executive Poise, Presence, and Influence to Maximize Your Potential’ (McGraw-Hill). He is an MIT Sloan Leadership Center Executive Coach and CEO of Protagonist Consulting. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org .