Skip to content

How body language and better self-awareness can help develop gravitas and help drive the equality agenda

   
How body language and better self-awareness can help develop gravitas and help drive the equality agenda

This blog previews the second episode of the Driving the Equality Agenda Podcast. Listen to the episode in full on Spotify here.

When CEOs speak with communications and body language expert Dr Louise Mahler, they often remark that they had no idea people would be watching every expression they make.

Every extravagant handwave. Every gentle nod.

“People are watching your every move,” Dr Mahler says.

In episode two of Driving the Equality Agenda, Dr Mahler explains it’s not just what you say that matters, but how you say it. This is fundamental to developing an executive presence or what is known as ‘gravitas’.

“I think the skills of presenting yourself, being able to influence, having presence. It grows exponentially. Once you become a leader, it’s everything” she says.

The challenge is that these are skills that people are rarely taught before they become leaders.

“It’s a massive gap in our education, in our MBAs, in our degrees, it’s left out,” Dr Mahler says.

The key to gaining those skills is to work with an expert and become self-aware. That means understanding that your gestures, eye contact, ability to make an entrance are all   habitual, not natural.

“If you have bad habits, weird traits, you can unlearn them,” she says.

“The problem is we get these habitual skills, we’ve been doing them for so many years, and then we say it’s natural. We have to realise it’s not natural. It’s habitual and it’s changeable.”

Once that breakthrough has been made, leaders can start to recognise the way they act under stress, or when they’re comfortable and how their unspoken communication needs to change in those moments to be the leader they want to be.

“Then it’s practice, practice, practice, until those new skills are there,” Dr Mahler says.

“You can practice while walking down the street. You can practice when cleaning your teeth.

“It takes a shorter time than people think to make that change, you just have to get on the journey.”

You can take the first step on that journey by listening to episode two of Driving the Equality Agenda.

Available wherever you get your podcasts.

Spotify

Apple Podcasts

YouTube

TAGS

RECOMMENDED
ARTICLES

Scholarships play a fundamental role in CEW’s efforts to create opportunities that level the playing field for women across the country.  Today, as three of our 2024 scholarships are officially opened to applicants, we celebrate the invaluable contributions of three remarkable benefactors whose commitment to gender equality shines through their support for scholarships.  Through their...
CEW calls on the Federal Government to unlock the economy by addressing women’s workforce participation CEW is calling on the Federal Government to address the country’s economic challenges with a suite of policy settings that will help unlock women’s workforce participation for the good of all. In its 2024-25 Pre Budget Submission, which has been...
The CEW Scholarships Program lies at the heart of women leaders enabling women leaders and 2023 has seen us reach new heights awarding scholarships to 34 outstanding women leaders across 19 different scholarships. We have been very excited to offer four new scholarships in partnership with Chemistry Australia, Actuaries Institute, Property Council of Australia, Melbourne...
CEW welcomes the findings of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s (WGEA) Scorecard, which has found that the average total remuneration gender pay gap has dropped to 21.7 per cent in 2023 from 22.8 per cent in 2022.  It is the second biggest single year drop since WGEA started collecting employer data in 2014, however, on...
CEW welcomes and supports the Productivity Commission’s Report into Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and takes this opportunity to welcome the new Productivity Commission Chair and CEW member Danielle Wood to this important role. CEW supports the key recommendations of the report, namely: Building towards universal, free or low-cost access for all children to...
In the world of data science, where innovation and leadership play a pivotal role, women have been steadily breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings. Their contributions are invaluable, yet there is still a gender gap to overcome. The inaugural CEW Actuaries Women Leader in Data Science scholarship winner, Lisa Green, is a prime example of...
Keren Paterson is a 2023 CEW scholar and attended INSEAD’s Advanced Management Program in France this year. Read about her amazing experience below: Some of the most inspirational business leaders that have influenced my career are graduates of the INSEAD Advanced Management Program (AMP). They have led very different businesses, but they share an incredible...
The winners of the CEW and ANZ Sustainability Scholarship are working to address some of our planet’s most pressing challenges in radically different ways. They are: Brickworks General Manager Operations Emily Antonio I’m Plastic Free Founder Simona Paganetto Coates National Environment and Sustainability Manager Robyn Simpson While their expertise and experience different greatly, they are...
Today we released our seventh annual Chief Executive Women Senior Executive Census which tracks the annual progress of women’s representation in the senior leadership teams of Australia’s top companies. Latest data shows that women remain undeniably underrepresented in leadership teams across Australia’s top businesses and gender parity at the top is still at least half...
This year’s recipient of the ARA Women Leaders in Retail Scholarship Coles Group General Manager, Non-Food Business Unit Debra Galle, prioritises values and behaviours to build supportive, transparent and team-based cultures. Debra is passionate about fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) retail, a segment that has faced rapidly changing and difficult circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic....