Boost Your Power

Boost Your Power

THE 2006 April/May issue of Worthwhile Magazine features a section on how people are redefining power in our organizations and in our culture. Claiming that power today has much more to do with power over yourself than others—I don’t believe that this is a new or outdated phenomenon, but nevertheless—they bring us five tips to boost our power:

1. Be true to yourself, even (especially) if you’re a little weird. High School is the last time conformity and power share a seat at the same table. Power comes from knowing what sets you apart from the crowd—and why the rest of the world should care. Which brings us to…

2. Know how to express yourself. If you want your ideas heard, you have to know how to command the right kind of attention. Witty (Jon Stewart) is powerful; constant quipping (name any sitcom actor) isn’t. Don’t qualify your opinions (“I may be the only person who thinks this, but…”). And never, ever ramble. Indeed…

3. Less is usually more. Great cooks and entertainers know to leave audiences wanting more. They aren’t the only ones. Abraham Lincoln got it right. One of the most powerful speeches in history—the Gettysburg Address—was less than 300 words and lasted only two minutes.

4. Except when it isn’t. Sometimes over-the-top works. This goes back to the know-thyself thing. Some people really are larger than life. Everything they do, say, wear, write or think is in bold letters. But there is nothing more exhausting than a larger-than-life wannabe.

5. Force isn’t power. Unless you’re a drill sergeant, a prison warden (or a parent), it’s pretty hard to force anyone to do your bidding. Instead, people yearn to connect with purpose and passion or something bigger than themselves. Think inspiration. It’s the new power.

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