Virtual Book Tour: The Confident Leader by Larina Kase

The Confident Leader

Author Larina Kase’s latest book The Confident Leader: How the Most Successful People Go From Effective to Exceptional was published in August. Larina is currently conducting a ‘virtual book tour’ – instead of crossing the country in person she is appearing in a number of blogs. I’m pleased to report that today her tour brings her to Professionally Speaking.

Larina Kase I asked Larina to comment on the importance of confidence for today’s leaders and what it takes to be effective. We also focused in on the relevance of this for speakers and presenters.

Can we build confidence from career achievement?

We know from recent research that self-esteem and confidence are some of the most important predictors of career success and income, and that it doesn’t go the other way around—we can’t wait until we having a thriving career and hope that it increases our confidence. Instead, if we develop confidence, we’re more likely to have a thriving career.

Confidence does NOT necessarily come from achievement. It comes from how you interpret your actions. Two people can achieve the same level, and one feels great and proud of her process of getting there, and the other feels that they could have done better or worries if they’ll do as well the next time. (Guess who’s more confident?)

How can we stay effective in today’s economy?

As you know, the current economy is a challenging one and it will separate the true leaders from the simply effective people. The cream will rise to the top and they will be the ones who will be most competitive for the best jobs, clients, and other opportunities.

Ironically, in tough times, most people become LESS exceptional. They get scared. They retreat into their comfort zones. They seek security and play it safe. They want to blend in and fly under the radar. They are afraid to accept responsibility for things that don’t go well. They do not step up as leaders.

You must avoid this temptation! These things will keep you in the average zone (or worse) and keep you from being exceptional and presenting your best.

What are 5 ways to make yourself exceptional to stand out in a tough market?

  • Become an expert. Pick one aspect of your work and make yourself an expert in it, such as “the woman who gracefully handles difficult customers”. This makes you invaluable.
  • Speak in specifics. Market the results of your work by highlighting outcomes and data. This type of self-marketing delivers value without coming across as self-promotional.
  • Tell stories. Stories engage others and make you memorable. Show your value by telling the success stories of your clients or customers.
  • Step up as the leader. During fearful times you’re tempted to fly under the radar, but this makes you dispensable. Instead, pick a project you are qualified to lead and take charge.
  • Take ownership. When you’re anxious, fear of failure increases and you don’t want to be blamed for problems. Unfortunately responsibility-shirking undermines your confidence in yourself and others’ trust in you.

Why do we know what we need (and even want to do) but we don’t do it?

High-achieving types are great consumers of knowledge. We always want to learn more and be our best, but most of the time we struggle with turning our knowledge into action. There are many reasons for this, including:

  • The timing isn’t right
  • We don’t have the right support or other resources
  • We aren’t committed to making the change
  • We don’t yet have the skills to successfully take action

These reasons can be legitimate and important to consider and manage, or they can be excuses. The #1 reason that we don’t take action is fear. We doubt ourselves and get paralyzed with indecision. When fear is active, these reasons all feel very legitimate, when in reality they are not important.

The key, then, is to critically evaluate your readiness to take action when you are not feeling particularly anxious about the change. If you need to address these factors, do so, and while you have momentum, start taking action!

What role do public speaking and presentation skills and confidence in front of an audience play in someone being a Confident Leader?

Communication skills are crucial for Confident Leadership. Formal presentation skills (speaking before an audience) are critical, as is the ability to think on your feet and spontaneously answer questions and make decisions, and the ability to have casual conversations where you connect to others.

Without strong communication it is impossible to influence others with your ideas.

The most important aspect of communication for Confident Leadership is your nonverbal skills. It’s not what you say as much as how you say it. Your nonverbal skills include body language (facial expression, posture, eye contact) as well as your voice tone (does it sound warm, powerful?), speed (fast enough to have energy but slow enough to be clear), volume (is it sufficiently loud without being overpowering?), and articulation (do you slur your words together?).

Communication is in the eye of the beholder, so it’s important that your nonverbal communication resonate with those with whom you’re speaking. For example, if your audience is high energy salespeople, you need to mirror this energy level with a louder voice and faster pace.

Leaders’ emotions are contagious to others. If a leader is nervous, others will feel uncomfortable. This is why it is so important that leaders have authentic confidence, while presenting, while having conversations, and in all situations.

What makes some executives ‘Exceptional’ communicators and others not so?

Executives who are exceptional communicators (and are seen as others to be charismatic) have strong empathy and listening skills. Their empathy allows them to take the emotional temperature of their colleagues, employees, and customers, and respond accordingly.

Confident leaders recognize when others are uncomfortable or apprehensive and then ask questions to truly understand the issues. They are able to then help to create real resolutions rather than band-aid solutions.

In order to have and use empathy skills, you must possess an interest and curiosity in others as well as a desire to help them maximize their potential. Without empathy, people feel you don’t “get” them and then they resist your influence. Empathy puts you on the same page, makes others feel understood, and makes others want to listen to you and follow your ideas.

Empathy relates to charisma because we perceive people to be charismatic based on how they make us feel. If we feel that they’re genuinely curious and interested in us, our perception of their charisma goes up. When people lack confidence, it is more difficult for them to be empathic and listen well because they will be in their own heads, thinking of what they are going to say next, and trying to appear confident to make up for how they truly feel.

Is your new book The Confident Leader just for leaders?

It’s really about personal leadership – being the leader in your career, business, community, and life. It’s for the person who wants to take charge, push their own boundaries, surprise themselves with what they are actually capable of, and make a real difference in the world. You can get the book, plus lots of bonuses at If you get the book before November 10th, you can attend a telesummit where I’ll interview business leaders like Dan Pink and Joe Vitale at no charge.

1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

Best Public Speaking Articles: Weekly Review [2008-11-08]…

On Saturdays, we survey the best public speaking articles from throughout the public speaking blogosphere. Topics featured include:

book reviews;
writing a eulogy;
lectern issues;
Q&A sessions;
bad PowerPoint slides;
speaking with a lavaliere micr…

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>