How do you command respect as a quiet leader?
I’m going to give you three different techniques that will help you get the respect of your audience in whatever setting you’re in.
THE POWER PAUSE
Step number one is to use the “power pause.” Pauses are powerful, people don’t understand and really grasp just how powerful pauses are.
All you have to do is not talk instead of filling the space in a conversation with words like, “um” or “uh.”
This simple shift can totally change the audience’s attitude towards you as a leader. It makes you seem more put together and less rushed and nervous.
Try this in your next meeting: say, “Hey, I’ve got something I want to say,” then pause.
It causes people to lean in on the edge of their seats and go, “Wait, why is it so quiet?”
This is the easiest guaranteed way to command respect.
Stop trying to use all the time you have speaking by actually speaking, use power pauses instead.
Technique number two is to use deliberate extended eye contact.
What do I mean by that?
When our eyes are shifty and moving around, it’s usually because we’re nervous about something. We’re afraid that we might say something stupid, but when you look them directly in the eye, it forces you to confront that timidity.
Eye contact allows you to connect with your audience on a much deeper level.
When you make deliberate extended eye contact, it gives you more confidence and makes your audience a lot more prone to trust you.
How does this apply in a big room?
If there are 10 or 12 people in a room, look at each person and lock eyes for a few seconds then move on to the next person.
What about a stadium full of thousands of people?
You use the same process you used in the smaller room. You’re not going to make eye contact with every single person in the stadium because that’s impossible. What you’re going to do is pick a person from each section and make eye contact with that person. From that section’s perspective, it looks like you’re making eye contact with all of them at the same time.
DON’T THEORIZE, SUMMARIZE
The third technique is don’t theorize, summarize.
For one-on-one conversations, you can just be the one asking the questions. That will make the other party feel like you actually care about their situation without you necessarily giving any direct input.
When it comes to small rooms of people, like an internal meeting, you don’t need to be leading or be super engaged in the conversation to gain your audience’s respect. What you need to do is listen.
Let the conversation flow, collect all the information being said, mentally organize it, and reiterate it in 1 or 2 simple sentences.
By being the one who is summarizing people will go, “Gosh, that’s so eloquent.”
As for a large audience, there isn’t really much leeway for having a conversation to listen to, so you have to summarize beforehand.
What I mean by that is take all the information you have on the topic you’re presenting, distil it, and fine-tune it, then push it out for your audience to consume.
These three practices can change your audience’s perception of you instantaneously.
Gaining respect as an introvert is as easy as using the power pause, making extended eye contact and not theorizing, but summarizing. I promise if you do these no matter how introverted or quiet you are, you will feel the difference right away