Before the Statute of Limitations runs out on making resolutions, I have a suggestion. Not a casual, easily cast aside resolution like signing up for spin class or cutting back on caffeine, but a biggie and one that calls for commitment. Executive presence is the core of my suggestion and in those long forgotten days of making resolutions in cursive, it could have been listed as "improve leadership skills."

Today, our expectations for leaders are far greater than modest improvement. We're looking for charismatic leaders and that, in fact, is my suggestion: consider charisma. Let me explain. Loosely defined, charisma describes someone's ability to inspire others. Ultimately, isn't this exactly what leadership is all about?

Dr. Tony Alessandro defines charisma as the ability to influence others positively, by connecting with them physically, emotionally and intellectually. Recognized as one of America's most electrifying speakers and prolific author with 18 books and numerous foreign language translations, Dr. Tony, as he's known, projects a refreshing, street-wise perspective on business. Raised in NYC's housing

projects, he calls it as he sees it ...

"It's not a single ingredient that makes a person charismatic and more important, charisma isn't based on I.Q., genetics, social position, wealth or luck. Instead, it can be learned."

The potential to be a charismatic leader is there, waiting to be cultivated by everyone with the desire, determination and commitment to begin the learning process.

Here's a starter-kit to get you going:

Communicate with confidence and authority.

I'm not talking about arrogant, creepy priggishness but a truly confident demeanor. An authoritative voice inspires trust. And remember, listening is communicating, too. Welcome questions. Be candid when you don't have the answer. 'Fess up when you're wrong. Accept feedback with an open mind and heart.

Demonstrate consistency in your attitude and behaviour.

Body language trumps speech. The classic gesture of arms folded across the chest is far more telling than forced, vocalized agreement. Gestures, stance and tonality reveal your true feelings.

Radiate heartfelt passion.

But never fake it - people are not easily fooled. And more importantly, we all hate to think we're being manipulated. Genuine passion, on the other hand, is spellbinding. It makes you believable.

A personal note: When I speak about Executive Presence, I am energized and animated. Often, a member of the audience will approach me following the presentation with a personal reflection; "Diane, you love what you do -and it shows!" There is no greater compliment to me.

Share your optimism.

Life is full of challenges but an optimistic outlook promises far better odds of success and even greater chances of triumph. I don't endorse an over-the-top, Pollyanna-ish view of life but let's face it - who thrives around negative energy? Take the positive highroad, especially as a conversation starter.

Demonstrate your competencies and abilities.

People gravitate to power. It's reassuring. Use your authority to attract people and to demonstrate your ability to help, assist and make a positive difference.

Dress can also display power. Think of the policeman's uniform or the doctor in his lab coat. Their clothing sends a clear signal we're in the presence of authority. Dress conveys you are an expert in your field. Use it to your advantage.

Emanate vigour and vitality.

There's only one surefire way to achieve this and that's to invest wisely in all aspects of your life. It's a balancing act between the physical building blocks of sleep, nutrition and exercise and the emotional components that stimulate you intellectually, spiritually and socially.

Share your happiness and showcase your good humour.

Nothing on the planet connects people more quickly than shared happiness. Positive body language influences your mood, your confidence and your likeability factor. Bottom line, a simple smile is the best body language of all.

Author's Bio: 

Diane Craig
Image and Etiquette Expert

Diane Craig, President of Corporate Class Inc., is a leading image and etiquette consultant. For over 20 years she has provided corporate consultations, helping hundreds of men and women realize their professional and personal goals. She is a sought after speaker at national business meetings, regularly gives comprehensive workshops to corporate groups, and offers private consultations on business etiquette, dress and dining.