Reading List: Own the Room

UPDATED: April 20, 2013
PUBLISHED: April 20, 2013

By Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins

Harvard Business Review Press; $25

Charisma, magnetism, authenticity and credibility are a few of the traits traditionally associated with leaders who stand out in a crowd—people who can command a stage or a studio and take control of a conference room, boardroom or lunch table. Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins contend that presence—the capacity to be genuine and authoritative; and to project power, confidence, understanding and compassion—is the most important trait of a true leader. To "own the room" you must be authentic and able to connect with your audience. The authors, co-founders of the leadership coaching and consulting firm Isis Associates, write that attaining palpable presence requires developing a “signature voice,” which is the ability to “consistently and clearly articulate” company and personal beliefs and values while maintaining a connection with the audience. In other words, “voice” is more than the sound of a person talking. The skills, drills and devices in the book are based on Isis Associates’ Signature Voice workshops. If you can’t take the workshop, Own the Room, with its real life examples and useful tools, offers a sound alternative for developing your leadership presence.