Women in Tech partnered with Learning & Development to host a fun and engaging “Let’s Do Lunch – Executive Presence for Women.” The event was led by Denise Rabius, Executive Coach, Leadership consultant, and instructor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Denise teaches “Interpersonal Dynamics” at Stanford, which is an elective course but 90% of students choose to take it. It’s been ranked among alumni as one of the most valuable courses they took. We were honored and thrilled to have Denise join us at Yahoo! for this special Let’s Do Lunch.
After grabbing their lunches, approximately 40 women settled in and mingled while Denise kicked off the event. Her message focused on a few key points to help women increase their ability to promote themselves as leaders in the workplace. Being smart is not enough – it’s important that people perceive us as likeable and most importantly, authentic.
- Be present – we’re all busy and have a lot on our minds, but make an effort to be in the moment with someone when you are having a conversation and focus only on them.
- Take risks – step in, speak up, and don’t sit on the sidelines. To echo Sheryl Sandberg’s message: lean in.
- Find openings in situations where you can speak up and provide valuable input that doesn’t go unnoticed.
This segued into the first interactive exercise where she asked us to think about a few questions to be more visible, and the audience had some great responses:
- Where are your opportunities to be visible?
- Staff meetings
- Getting up and asking a question at FYI
- Participating in Women in Tech (shameless self-promotion)
- Submitting a paper for TechPulse
- Who are the key players?
- Cross-functional teams
Once these questions are answered, it’s time to create a “connection with influence”, by developing an interest map:
- What is important to your key players?
- What are their business behaviors?
- What are skills that they appreciate?
- What are their hobbies?
Likeability and Authenticity
- Consider what weather you are bringing – are you sunny or rainy?
- Give appreciative feedback – instead of saying “Great job!” make it more meaningful by saying “Great job on that presentation the other day, I really enjoyed the point you made about…”
- Establish trust
- Be authentic – authenticity is the key to trust in any leader
The session concluded with a discussion around building your personal brand and developing your visibility and influence strategy. Denise emphasized that influence is “knowing what you want, and asking for it.” However, it is also important to be patient if you don’t get what you want right away. Do the “dance of the ask” - be a team player and be flexible, but stay committed to your end goal.
To bring all of the discussion topics together full circlt, the group completed a “Visibility and Influence Strategy” template at the end of the discussion, which can be useful as a tool to use in conversations with managers about your career goals and aspirations. It focused on your personal strategy to implement all of the elements discussed throughout the course as stated above: personal branding (what do I do well?), visibility (what opportunities do I have to be visible?), influence (what is my likeability?), and peer coaching (who is my buddy to support me?).
Yahoo! was delighted to have Denise and the event was very enlightening for all who attended. For more information about Denise please visit her website: http://www.deniserabius.com/