My Top Three Takeaways from the Executive Performance Summit in Toronto 2019

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The launch of Career Recharge has provided me with unexpected opportunities, one of them being asked to present at the Executive Performance Summit in Toronto. It was exciting for a number of reasons but also daunting as I had never presented before in Canada and had no idea that The Globe and Mail, who sponsored the conference, is comparable to The New York Times. It was a fabulous experience! I was nervous but the experience added to my resilience and my mom joined me for a fun Toronto getaway. A highlight was meeting Dan Harris, author of 10% Happier.

Dan Harris and Beth Kennedy

My top three takeaways:

  1. Charisma can be learned!

John Antonakis, a professor at The University of Lausanne, Switzerland, gave an excellent session on the importance of charisma to be an effective leader. Charisma is the ability to communicate a clear, visionary, and inspirational message that captivates and motivates an audience. Dr. Antonakis shared some key points about charisma:

  • it is not all innate—it’s a learnable skill
  • by focusing on charisma, you can become more trustworthy and an influential leader
  • developing charisma takes practice and strategy

Dr. Antonakis told us that you can boost your charisma by including stories, metaphors, and lists in your speech, asking rhetorical questions, and using confident body language (eye contact and gestures). Above all, he said, have moral conviction—you need to believe in the vision first.

For more about Professor Antonakis’ research and the power of charisma, visit the following links:
Preview a chapter of his book, The Nature of Leadership
Harvard Business Review article: “Learning Charisma”
Experiments on charisma
The Psychologist article: Moving psychology forward – with charisma

  1. Meditation recharges your brain

Dan Harris, ABC broadcaster and author of 10% Happier, said meditation trains your brain to stay on task in a distracting world. It also boosts your mindfulness, or the ability to see the emotions in your brain without being carried away by them. It teaches you to respond wisely instead of reacting blindly. Harris predicts meditation will be the next public health revolution. I have seen firsthand the difference it has made in my life and my business and I have over twenty-five clients who have added meditation to their lives. Even meditating for only five minutes, three or four times a week can make a difference in refreshing the brain. Dan Harris has created his own meditation app called 10% Happier and you can pilot it for a week for free.

  1.  Be aware of multi-tasking—your brain is really bad at it

Another highlight for me at the Executive Performance Summit was a presentation by Dr. Greg Wells, a physiologist and elite athlete. He shared that your body can send blood to only certain parts of the brain at a time. We deplete our brains by multi-tasking at work and at home, so stay focused on a single task as often as you can. Doing so makes you more effective and you won’t come home ‘fried’ at the end of the day. Dr. Wells also urged people to move more at work because the brain wakes up when you go for a walk or climb the stairs. Steve Jobs invented some of Apple’s best technology while walking around the Apple campus.

This month, I had an opportunity to attend the Career Thought Leaders conference in San Diego, California, one of my innovation goals for 2019.

Stay tuned for next month’s Ezine when I’ll share my top takeaways on what will make a positive difference in your influence and career impact.

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