by Lowell A.
Whether you are involved in a volunteer position today or hope to be a CEO or President in the future, there is no time like the present to start working on developing useful leadership skills. Each of us have our strengths and areas where we could grow – so whether these are areas where you already shine or have never tried, take some time to think for yourself – what could I do today that will help me gain some new skills…
Public Speaking – How do you feel presenting in front of 5 people? How about 50? 500? If you would rather write a 100 page report than speak in front of an audience, this may be the undertaking for you. While I have spoken to colleagues that say great things about toastmasters I have never tried attending a meeting. Instead, I have accepted any speaking opportunity that was provided to me – whether at work or in my volunteer life. Was it always comfortable? No. Has it become easier over time? Yes. (And as for that whole picture everyone in the room in their underwear theory – let me know how that works for you – has always just seemed weird to me.)
Give AWESOME Presentations – For most of us, the longer we work and the higher position we attain, being able to give engaging and effective presentations will loom larger in our roles. So what not to do? There was a great video posted on youtube – if anyone has the link please post it in the comments below (the link I had makes it seem it was taken down). Some top points though – don’t make your slides copy heavy and then read from them, don’t include obscure quotes that have little to do with your topics. While new presentations tools are developed every day (trying pinterest anyone?) as long as you use powerpoint, remember you are the one presenting, not your powerpoint.
Find your Passion – The best leaders are those who care about the cause they lead. What speaks to your heart? When you run into a difficult situation, what will keep your fire burning to fuel you onward? When we can connect our professional and volunteer obligations to our personal passions, those are the times that success becomes more than something to check off of our to-do list.
Meet your Fellow Leaders Today – Do you already know the field where you want a career? Don’t wait for professionals to find you – go meet them. Join the LinkedIn pages and participate in any weekly twitter chats. Share your thoughts and engage professionals in the field in discussion (and if you get a response, add them as a contact on LinkedIn!). Is there a chapter in your area from the profession’s association? Go to a meeting and network. These are your mentors and colleagues, references and friends – the more people you know, the more people you can help, the more that will think of you in kind.
There is no point when any of us are done becoming a leader – start building the foundation of your skills today for a lifetime of growth, development and success.
To learn more from or connect with Lowell, follow him on Twitter — @Lowellmatthew
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