Ladies, as I watched Harry and Meghan on Saturday morning, I was struck by the arrival of Queen Elizabeth, who arrived in a bright lime green coat and matching hat with a big purple flower. She certainly stood out with all that color. As the media discussed her outfit, they relayed that Queen Elizabeth has always said, “I have to be seen to be believed” because she’s only 5’2”. There is no doubt that the Queen no longer needs bright clothing to be believed, but as you look at photos of her time heading the Monarchy, it has certainly become part of her signature.
I recall a story Ronee Hagen, former CEO of PGI and Signature faculty, shared about your presence as a woman, especially one smaller in stature. She said, “Sometimes, you need to be seen before being heard. Think about it. Imagine you are in a burning building. When the firetruck pulls up, two firefighters jump out. One is a 5’2” woman and the other a 6’1” man. Who do you hope comes into that building to rescue you?”
Her point was that first impressions can set you up for success or failure. It’s about how you show up. A bad first impression can leave you digging out of a hole for quite a while.
While we can’t overcome our stature to make a bigger first impression, we can make a difference in how we are perceived through the power of presence. People respond to being heard, being listened to. Leaning in, keeping your eyes on them, asking good questions, and showing people you care creates a presence and builds trust.
So, when you are getting ready for that important meeting where you need to make a positive impression, take a moment to be intentional about how you will show up, and remember the advice of Cargill CHRO LeighAnne Baker: “When you come into a room, stop at the door, throw your shoulders back, gaze straight ahead, and then walk in like you own the place. Think to yourself, ‘Everybody is here to see me. Everybody wants to spend time with me.’ People will flock to you. I think it really works!”
Focus on your presence, and your stature will not be able to hold you back.