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Full Esteem Ahead

Act like an executive--and get the respect you deserve.

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This story appears in the September 2003 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

There are those who can make people stand at attention just by entering a room. When they speak, people listen. That kind of executive presence may be innate for some, but don't worry if it's not your forte--it can be learned, too. We asked Dianna Booher, author of Speak With Confidence (McGraw-Hill), how new entrepreneurs can learn to have the presence of a seasoned pro:

  • Talk slowly. If you speak too fast, you are, in effect, telling the audience you're not worthy of taking up their time. "The person who's nervous tends to talk faster," says Booher. "By [speaking] slowly, that shows you're confident-that you have a right to be there."
  • Stand up. Whenever you speak, whether from a podium or in a conference room, standing up gives people the impression that you are confident. Even if you stand up only to introduce yourself, then sit down, it's still an effective way to take the stage. Says Booher, "Visually, you have authority."

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