Gravitas: What Is It Exactly And How To Project It In Business?

Gravitas. It’s a small word with a big meaning.
It’s filled with power


Christine Lagarde

Gravitas: It’s instantly recognisable.
It’s detectable and apparent.
When someone is speaking and ‘in the zone’, it can be mesmerising.

A person with the G-factor demonstrates a mix of confidence, composure, influence and that indefinable ability to walk into a social or professional situation and to own it. To hold the tension and to have the audience, whatever size and in whichever setting, to really want to listen to what they have to say. Once you’ve come across Gravitas, it’s something you want for yourself.

What is it exactly?
Gravitas is a word that you hear in business conversations about other people, but how would you describe it?

Yes it’s to do with confidence. Yes it’s to do with presence. Yes it’s to do with executive style.
There isn’t a pat answer to accurately define it.
With its origins in Latin, we’ll use the colloquial meaning of Gravitas, which lies in ‘seriousness, dignity and solemnity of manner’.

Certainly there’s substance and a stateliness about the word.
Authority, trust and respect are also connected to exhibiting Gravitas.
It’s a word that used to be attributed to men but not any longer.
Without being sexist, Statesmanlike might pass as an acceptable answer.
In that word, it captures a presence, an uprightness, authority and more than a touch of influence.

Gravitas implies a depth of character and undeniably a degree of solemnity in manner and bearing. Indeed holding down a senior role is no laughing matter.
If you’ve got the G-factor, there’s no rushing about or panicking in the face of storms.
Instead, there’s a quiet control of the situation with no outward sign of disorder or disquiet.
Poise under Pressure.

Gravitas is a latent power
If key leadership qualities include amongst others: integrity, intuition and influence, and key leadership skills include amongst others: vision, business acumen, communication and emotional intelligence, how come gravitas is not on the list?

Whilst we can say that someone has Gravitas, it’s rarely used as a single descriptor.
It’s a latent power that over time becomes part and parcel of yourself, especially when you are talking in the role of an expert within your line of business.

Instead of it being a key component to successful leadership, it’s an integral and interwoven thread running through a myriad of qualities, skills and virtues that make up a true leader.
It develops and comes from within yourself. You can’t fake it. It comes with maturity.
And it’s there to be seen alongside the other intangible trait: inner confidence.

How to project gravitas.
Gravitas is not inborn and you can’t buy it. You can cultivate and project it.
Become the go-to person in your industry. Become an expert.
Strengthen your executive presence.
Work on your personal brand and your brand impression.
Build your confidence, learn to create influence by investing in business relationships.
Use a mentor, coach or a business professional to help keep you focused and on track.
Gravitas will emerge when it’s ready. And when you’re ready for it.


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