I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the idea of power. For the entirety of my career, I’ve operated in the world of power.

At first, it was the world of Fortune 500 boardrooms. I was in my first boardroom at age 22. Up until that point, I had never seen a conference room table that seated 65 people, where each person had a microphone (because otherwise, you couldn’t hear a board member at the other end of the table).

Later, it was the world of corporate technology buyers. 

More recently, I’ve been doing work with and around private equity firms (and the word “billions” has been in my conversations a lot more, lately). 

There are many forms of power. 

Money is one form. 

Control of unique assets such as relationships, brand names, or patents is another.

Perhaps the most intriguing form of power is… influence.

Influence or gravitas is the ability to get those with other forms of power to do what you want them to do… and to make them thrilled to do so.

The last part of that sentence is important.

If you simply take another person’s assets, you’re more or less stealing from them.

If you lie to someone to trick them into doing what you want, you’re a liar.

If someone does something that benefits you significantly because it benefits them even more, now that is called… gravitas.

There are many ways to develop, cultivate, and ultimately accumulate gravitas.

You can do so as an extrovert. You can also do so as an introvert. However, the approaches are different.

You can do so through analysis and insight (if that’s your strong suit). You can also develop gravitas through relationship building (if that’s more of your strength).

My point in all this is to say that there are multiple ways to develop gravitas, suiting every personality type and every strength profile.

The key is to discover all the approaches and to find the subset of approaches that best suit who you are and what you’re good at doing.

One way to have enormous gravitas is to be an exceptional public speaker.

Incidentally, another powerful way to develop gravitas is to be a deeply attentive listener.

Key Idea: The exceptional public speakers say things in ways that inspire emotion… the better listeners say things that their audiences want to hear, ideas that resonate (even if delivered in a more understated way).

This is just one of over a dozen approaches to understanding, developing, and accumulating gravitas. If you’d like to learn more, complete the form below. You will be added to my notification list for the upcoming release of my program on How to Develop Gravitas for Extreme Career Success.


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