When communicating – online and in person – three elements can be used to express a message: verbal content, body language, and the voice. When these elements are not congruent, people often believe the body language and the voice. The means that non-verbal elements are particularly important for communicating feelings and attitudes and in engaging others. These aspects are vital in order to be an effective leader. Professor Steffen Giessner from Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) co-authored Leading with presence: fundamental tools and insights for impactful, engaging leadership with Milly Obdeijn and Antonie Knoppers, who teach in RSM’s two-day The Power of Presence course.

Impactful leadership

Leading with presence provides a practical guide as to how and why ‘presence’ in everyday interaction is a vital component of impactful leadership. This book explores and teaches about non-verbal communication such as posture, gestures, and the voice to create more awareness and understanding of the signals sent, and explains how to be present and 'in the moment’, how to connect with others, to 'read the room’, to motivate and inspire, to instil trust, to exude confidence and thus strengthen the effect of leadership.

Ultimately, the book is for anyone who communicates and who wants to have influence, not only business leaders. Effective co-ordination and influencing people into action can be greatly strengthened by how someone positions and presents themselves.

Online Presence

Online presence is covered too; how to lead in a virtual environment when you have less tools (such as body language) available to you? How do you still come across with confidence and convey your message in an effective way? The book addresses these virtual aspects too, so that professionals can even strengthen their presence in a challenging virtual environment.

Presence in practice

Working on presence is especially helpful for those who manage or lead others. However, presence work can be applied to – and help with – any communication, whether it’s with a client, customer, stakeholder or colleague, and in private life as well. For leadership, working on presence can greatly enhance a leader’s ability for self-leadership and thus to effectively lead others too.

There are exercises in the book that help to learn more about the body-mind connection, which have a direct link to workplace situations, and have immediate positive effects on the reader’s presence. The theory and exercises are also based on research findings.

Through theory, practical tools and exercises, business professionals can learn the science behind body language, and explore, practise and understand leadership presence. “This is a valuable guide for anyone who seeks to ensure that their body and voice contribute to their positive impact. This collaboration has resulted in a treasure trove of principles, stories and exercises underpinned by thorough scientific evidence that will make people think about and enhance their non-verbal cues in a whole new way,” says Prof. Nicola Kleyn, Dean of RSM Executive Education.

Authors Prof. Steffen Giessner, Milly Obdeijn and Antonie Knoppers also teach about non-verbal communication skills, including body language and presenting with self-confidence in the two-day The Power of Presence course by RSM Executive Education. The next runs of this programme will take place on 19-20 May 2021 and 28-29 October 2021.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. www.rsm.nl

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Danielle Baan, Media Officer for RSM, via +31 10 408 2028 or baan@rsm.nl.

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