Whether you are an associate manager or a senior executive, what you say, how you say it, when you say it, to whom you say it, and whether you say it within the proper context are critical components of your strategic leadership potential. This “executive voice” is less about your performance and more about your strategic instincts and your awareness of the signals you send in daily interactions and communications. Developing an executive voice can mean the difference between success and failure in your communication and leadership style. You can show up more strategically in meetings by doing your homework and by taking the lead in analyzing difficult situations. Bring solutions, not just problems. And stay calm in the pressure cooker. People with an effective executive voice aren’t easily rattled. They provide levelheaded leadership even when — in fact, particularly when — everyone around them is losing their composure. By making the necessary adjustments to your approach to participation, you can start showing up more strategically in every setting you encounter at work
Nancy started her day feeling prepared to brief her executive team on a high-stakes project she had been working on for the past two months. She had rehearsed her slide deck repeatedly, to the point where she had every level of content practically memorized. She arrived at the meeting early and waited patiently, yet anxiously, for her part of the agenda. The meeting began, and within a few minutes Jack, one of the cochairs, asked her to brief the executives on her project and recommendations.
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