Personal Impact and Gravitas: A Q & A with David Roylance

David Roylance is a leadership & performance coach. This interview was conducted by Natalie Hogg, Academies Director at Winmark.

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How do I have increased presence?

In order to have more presence for other people you have to be more present in yourself. The 3 circle work is the imperative work here. Practise daily until 2nd circle becomes your normal. Presence is the melding of the physical, mental and emotional. Start with the physical. Train your body to be balanced so you are breathing in a way that tells your brain you are comfortable and confident.


Tips and techniques for more impact

Taking charge of your impact in a room requires focus on the 3 pillars of posture, voice and energy. People who have more energy about them are more successful in life. How do you rate your energy when you walk into a meeting? What marks might you give yourself out of 10?

What might you need to do to make sure that your energy is never less than 9 out of 10?

Tips on maximising vocal/body language for boardroom type forums

When you are in 2nd circle you have complete control over what you reveal to others in a board room situation. Typically, when we let others see our thoughts or feelings it is because we are in either 1st or 3rd. In either of those situations we have no control over involuntary muscle movement in the face.

Having a full vocal range available to you in a boardroom requires practice when you are safe. The last thing I you need is to be thinking about how you sound, or what are the right gestures to make, whilst in the boardroom. To get it right requires work. If you want more “warrior” voice when you speak, then you have to exercise that muscle in situations where you are not at risk.

Credibility sits in the warrior voice. The lower notes speak directly to the unconscious mind of the listener. Fewer words in shorter, more direct sentences. Palm down gesture more than open hand. Open palm gestures, associated more with the “heart” voice, denote agreeability and high levels of agreeability undercuts credibility in the boardroom.


Your experience and knowledge on good leadership

The perception of good leadership is based around value. What value do you give to the decision makers in your company? You don’t get to decide what that value is, only they do. Are you clear about the values of your company? Are you clear about what those values look like and sound like in a human being? Once you are clear on this model it, every day. Prepare yourself physically before any meeting so your body is the embodiment of these values. Taking the time to do this has revolutionise the way people are perceived.

How do you get your team to buy into your ideas as if they were their own?

This is where vocal dexterity comes in handy. If you only use your warrior voice with your team, then they will do the task, but only because you have asked them to. The heart and head voice come in especially useful because they are emotionally resonant. Emotions are only transmitted to others via the vowel sounds when we speak. As we become more emotionally engaged, we will use longer vowel sounds. Emotional equity is a big player is getting your team to buy into your ideas. Your team need to know that you have their back, to feel safe to take risks.

Good leaders encourage their teams to find solutions to problems before they bring them to you. If your team bring you problems to solve for them, create a system for them to filter. Your time is precious. Teams however hard working often expect you to be the problem solver. Creat a filtering system through members of the team you trust so they can find solutions.

Decision makers above you in the management chain also need to feel safe. They need to feel safe that you are a great choice to deliver that bigger value.

I'd love to take away practical tools to try out on my colleagues and be able to review my impact

First ask your colleagues to be specific in their feedback. Unless they know exactly what it is you are looking for in your feedback, they will not be able to give you anything useful.

I guarantee that if you practice the rocking exercise and find 2nd circle daily over 4 to 6 weeks then you will feel different and people will respond to you differently. This is always the first step. Once the breathe is grounded because the body is balanced, then you can flex the muscle that is the voice with dexterity.

Build your “warrior” voice muscle and make sure you practice using it daily. Have specific intentions for each day. It may be 1 conversation a day using my warrior voice. For instance, ordering a coffee in “warrior”. No risk here. Notice how a barrista may respond differently to the request. I recommend this as a first action because people often attribute the judgement of “unpleasantness” to the warrior voice, and I like them to observe early that this is not necessarily the case. 

Once you have accomplished no risk scenarios, then take it into low risk scenarios. For instance, use it at the beginning of a team (or colleague) meeting and see how that might change the way the meeting goes.

Each step builds your confidence to play with this in a large arena until you are using effortlessly in the boardroom.

How do we maximise the virtual voice, language tips

Practice, Practice, Practice. If you prepare yourself for any meeting, zoom or otherwise, with the rocking exercise, the 3 voices and getting your physical state to 10 out of 10, then your performance in the meeting will take care of itself.

Listen to the kind of language being used by those above you in the management chain. What is it they are telling you then need to hear more of? What language can you use to make them more curious about you? You want to create curiosity, not just around what you are doing. Remember, people do not care about what you do, until they know what you can do for them. You want curiosity around what you could be doing for them?

Inspiration at a time when the world is challenged and I want to progress and earn more

We have a choice in how we plan to navigate this challenge the world is facing. This becomes starkly revealed when we meet people who are mired in fear and project that fear in language and body language. We can either have our head in the sand, or we can be survivors or we can be thrivers. Those with their head in the sand will not survive the corporate cull that Martin Sorrell has predicted as being “Darwinian”, that is coming.  Survivors may do exactly that, with their job intact. They are highly unlikely to progress. It is the thrivers who will survive and grow their careers and income. Thrivers are the people who take massive action right now, in lockdown, to make sure they have the visibility and the voice that they want decision makers to hear. 

Offer maximum value. Ask them what they need. Offer above and beyond. Once we come out of the lockdown businesses will be looking and listening for the people who can help them solve the new problems. Career progression is always about solving bigger problems than you do in your current role. Imagine, you walk into your bosses office and ask this question – “If I were to walk in here and ask for a pay rise in a couple of months, what is it you would need to see and hear in order that it is a no-brainer to say yes?” What do you think your boss would say to you? Alternatively you could ask that question in the real world and get real feedback about what it is they see and hear.

Performance is merely the ticket to the dance. It is essential that your performance is there, however the rest of career progression is around how you perceived. That is what people see and hear of you, and how you make them feel when you are present.


Would a lower tone be perceived as being monotonous?

If it is the only vocal tone you use, then yes, people could perceive you as monotonous. The best course is the build the vocal muscle to operate at a full range. You need to prepare so you can concentrate on your message when you are in the boardroom.

Strategies to get people to respect you in a work situation

If you find you are not respected in a work situation then you have show people something new. People love to put other people in a box (metaphorically speaking) because it saves a lot of time and energy. For instance, the average number of names and faces the human brain can put together is 160. That is why when we meet more than 160 we often have to delete people from our memory. Have you ever seen a face but cannot put a name to it?

Let’s show them something new. 2nd circle is designed as a self protection mechanism as well as creating presence. Voice mentor, Patsy Rodenburg, has used the 3 circles in helping people subject to bullying and abuse for years. A bully always operates in 3rd circle and relies on producing 1st circle in those they bully. If you find yourself in 1st circle in a work situation, work out who is the 3rd circle person putting you there.

What Patsy has found is that the bully cannot cope with their subject being in 2nd circle. They have to adjust their behaviour. Repeatedly she has seen bullies crumble when someone faces them with presence and dignity. I have seen managers turn about face 180 degrees in their understanding of my clients, and give them immediate promotion as a result.

The warrior voice is key in creating respect. You are transmitting directly to the unconscious mind when you use it. If you are running a meeting, then do it with an agenda written on either a slide or a flip chart. You want a visual to point challenges to rather than absorb them yourself. Be of integrity. If you say the meeting is going to run 45 minutes, then make sure that is exactly what it does. No overrunning.

Don’t let people into your head to the point you cannot function. Look after your physical, mental and emotional health as a first. People respect people who are confident in themselves. Confidence comes in external and internal forms. Start with the external and the internal will follow.










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