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The Look & Sound of Leadership

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An ongoing series of Executive Coaching Tips designed to help you be perceived in the workplace the way you want to be perceived.

An ongoing series of Executive Coaching Tips designed to help you be perceived in the workplace the way you want to be perceived.
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An ongoing series of Executive Coaching Tips designed to help you be perceived in the workplace the way you want to be perceived.




Dynamic One-on-ones

There are a million ways to conduct one-on-one meetings with direct reports. How you run yours will reflect your personal style. This month’s coaching conversation focuses on specific best practices that will enhance your one-on-ones no matter what your style. In the commentary portion of this month's episode is a question for you. Share your thoughts in an email to: You can sharpen your management skills with the Executive Coaching Tips in the "Management Skills"...

Duration: 00:21:07

Acting on the Corporate Stage

This month's episode introduces "Acting on the Corporate Stage." That phrase was Tom's original branding phrase, before "The Look & Sound of Leadership" became his branding phrase. "Acting on the Corporate Stage" aims at helping you be perceived in the workplace the way you want to be perceived, which, of course, is the reason d'etre of every episode. Also this month, Tom shares reflections on attending his first-ever podcaster's convention. And his reflections are all about YOU! He...

Duration: 00:23:25

Performing Like a TED Talker

Delivering a top-notch presentation requires you to master your ideas. Of course! But even more, you need to master yourself. Your audience won’t be able to lock onto you unless you are “in focus.” This month’s coaching conversation shows you how to get “in focus.” Related episodes are: Prepping Like a TED Talker Talking Like a TED Talker All Presentation Skills Tips...

Duration: 00:16:35

Prepping Like A TED Talker

Preparing a presentation raises many questions. How much are you going to rehearse? What will you actually do during your rehearsal? Are you going to memorize your talk? This month’s coaching conversation covers all that and more. Four core concepts this month: In the archive is a whole set of Tips about “self talk.” It’s at: There’s another set about “presentation skills.” That’s at: Many...

Duration: 00:17:21

Short Sounds Confident

Holding each other’s attention is a constant challenge. But you can’t achieve The Look & Sound of Leadership if you can’t keep people listening to you. This month’s coaching conversation emphasizes three little slogans to make sure you aren’t driving your listeners away from you. All three slogans are just three words long: “Short sounds confident.” And “Communication takes effort.” And “Stop talking sooner.” There are so many reasons why embodying those slogans is hard. And, in truth,...

Duration: 00:17:06

Readers’ Letters — Bonus Episode 2

Tom exchanges emails with two listeners. One exchange addresses issues of personal boundaries in the workplace; the other addresses scarcity and abundance. This Bonus Episode is only the second one in the 9-year history of "The Look & Sound of Leadership." If you like this and want more, tell us. Contact us through the homepage at: Or by email at: The prior bonus episode -- with two other email exchanges -- is titled "Readers' Letters." It was...

Duration: 00:15:44

Talking Like a TED Talker

TED Talkers turn us into engrossed detectives, absorbed in solving the mysteries unfolding before us. But TED Talking doesn’t have to be saved for special events. This month’s coaching conversation explores ways to turn everyday presentations into compelling content that will hold people's interest ... like a TED Talk. If you're crafting an actual TED Talk, use Chris Anderson's terrific book: "TED Talks." I have a nifty 3-page reduction of Anderson's book. Reach out to me at...

Duration: 00:18:32

The Voice of Authority

Authority. It’s a slip-sliding sort of thing, isn’t it? Do we get it automatically along with a title? Sometimes. But sometimes not. This month’s coaching conversation examines both the thoughts and the words that give us authority. The ideas in this month's episode echo motifs embedded in many other episodes. Just a few related Executive Coaching Tips are: Assertion vs AggressionChoosing PersistenceDon’t Take it PersonallyGetting UnstuckThe Look & Sound of Self-EsteemSpeaking For...

Duration: 00:17:54

The Human Element

At work, we often diminish the importance of feelings – our own or those of others. We think, “I don’t have time for that” or “That’s silly.” But feelings don’t disappear just because they’re inconvenient. And, when unacknowledged, their impact can be severe. This month, two coaches discuss the difficulties of managing “the human element.” Related episodes: Building Empathy Building Emotional IntelligenceCoaching Your PeopleCompassion During Change Dealing with Emotional Responses

Duration: 00:17:17

Self-Limiting Beliefs

Self-limiting beliefs hold us back. We limit who we are so we don't shatter those beliefs. This month's coaching conversation serves up several strategies to help you push back against those demons. Along the way, we mention "Leadership and Self-Deception," a great book to help you on your journey. We also touch on the topic of "Coaching versus Therapy," something I've been talking about for years. You can find an epsiode about it in the archive. I also mention an interview I did with...

Duration: 00:15:51

Inhabiting Executive Presence

Getting to the next level of executive presence usually demands the adoption of new behaviors. This month's episode explores a three-step process that helps new behaviors become habits. Helping you change behavior so you can be perceived the way you want to be perceived is the raison d'être of this podcast. If it's time for you develop more effective behaviors, there is an entire category in “The Look & Sound of Leadership" archive that will accelerate your development. The archive is...

Duration: 00:17:08

Combating Emotional Hijacks

When we feel threatened or in danger, an old part of our brains, the one that regulates emotions, hijacks our executive functioning. We say and do things we regret. In the workplace, this can have serious consequences. This month’s Executive Coaching Tip has seven strategies for stopping yourself from getting hijacked. The seven lessons in my conversation with my client, Kimberly, are: If you want to work on combatting your emotional hijacks. other episodes you can listen to...

Duration: 00:16:16

Creating Safety for Hard Talks

You can’t be an effective leader if you are not able to have hard conversations that are successful. “Successful” means addressing tough topics in a way that will create change. One crucial skill to make hard conversations successful is attending to how things are being said. Without an awareness of the ‘how,’ things won’t be as safe as they could be. And if things aren’t safe, they won’t go deep. And if they don’t go deep, they probably won’t stick. Five other episodes that relate...

Duration: 00:16:59

How Teams Fight

Conflict on teams is a good thing. Really! Well, it's good if it’s healthy. This month, two techniques to help team members engage in healthy conflict: arguing about what's best for the business and turning hostile non-verbals into dialogue. Related episodes to help with these skills are: Disagree Agreeably Facilitating Open Dialogue Getting Agreement Holding People Accountable Leadership and Listening Resolving Conflict

Duration: 00:15:11

Taming Meetings

Meetings are often viewed as a necessary evil to be endured. But they can be engaging events that build people’s skills and accelerate the work. This month, a recipe for mixing up meeting magic. There is a four-meeting model discussed in this episode. If you want a graphic illustration of the model, just look at the online version in the archive: or email me at Two books are also discussed in this month's episode: Patrick...

Duration: 00:14:51

Conquering Fear

Fear is natural but insidious. It can carve caverns in the foundations of our confidence, weakening our capacity. This month, a client learns about three kinds of fear and a transformational question that tames fear. A seminal book to help master fear is "Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers. At the end of this month's episode, Tom tells a story about the amazing reach of podcasts.

Duration: 00:16:15

Building Empathy

Empathy is a crucial component of The Look & Sound of Leadership. Some people have it naturally, others don’t. In either case, it can be developed and learned. This month's episode has lots of ideas about what empathy is, what it isn't, and how you can develop it. There are lots of resources discussed this month. A book called "The EQ Edge" by Stein and Book. A great 3-minute animation by Brene Brown about sympathy versus empathy. It's on the home page of her website: ...

Duration: 00:16:49

Readers’ Letters — Bonus Episode

A bonus episode! Tom shares email exchanges he had with two podcast listeners. One exchange is about handling people who interrupt presentations. The other is about defining tasks and responsibilities when they're not defined for you. During the podcast, Tom mentions two other episodes that support the ideas here: one episode is “Facilitating Open Dialogue.” The other is “Creating Devoted Followers.” If you’d like more bonus episodes like this one, let Tom know at

Duration: 00:15:16

Personal Histories as Your Brand

How you brand yourself sticks with people a long time.Thismonth, a senior executive dreads having to brand himself duringaninterview – until he learns about the PersonalHistoriestechnique.In addition to giving you this simple yet powerful tool tohelpbuild your personal brand, this episode also references abookcalled "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team."Details about this book is at the end of the podcast. ThereIdiscuss that there are actually TWO books about theFiveDysfunctions. They're quite...

Duration: 00:15:25

Power Tools for Teams — Plus/Delta

This month, The Look & Sound of Leadership gives you a tool for developing your team. A process that takes only minutes to learn, if practiced regularly, this exercise has far-reaching ripples. Welcome to "The Plus/Delta Tool." Other episodes to help you develop as a leader of teams are: Your Team's Best Interests - Part One Your Team's Best Interests - Part Two Coaching Your People Engagement and Performance Performance Reviews Resolving Conflict

Duration: 00:16:44

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