We've all met 'that' person. The person who has incredible self confidence, who articulate complex arguments with a silver tongue, who's words oozes in to well crafted verses of eloquence, who is gifted with the ability to capture attention, who is able to improvise on-point and witty answers to any left field queries, who exudes a personality that warms and rocks the audience to sway to a well timed beat. How are they able to exhibit such gravitas, think quick on their feet and appear so comfortable doing it?
In the business world, a meeting, a speech, a presentation, a discussion, or a negotiation, are all just examples of human congregations held either trying to share, negate or support information in order to reach a common understanding.
In order to influence that understanding, here are five tips to help you own a powerful, confident and charismatic presence, to command a room:
To be Confident is to Appear Confident : Humans are visual creatures, and while they are listening to your words, they are judging those same words with your body language, mood and appearance. An upright posture is key, standing or seated. Deliver your points with gestures, timed intonation and strong eye contact. Even in disappointment, do not slouch, fidget and express anxiety. Your mood will either make or break your influence over the audience. Humour is often a quick go-to to appear at ease as well as win attention. However, serious arguments might require a calm and composed demeanour, with opportunities to exert dominance. Sometimes sudden changes in tone, changes in position (sitting to standing up) establishes an intangible hierarchy between you and the listener. Always own the self belief to position yourself as the expert of the matter, the one in the winning position to close a deal, but never lose your temper or appear pessimistic. Losing your temper just betrays your lack of ability to be in charge. Optimism is “the fuel of heroes, the enemy of despair, the creator of the future”.
Dress to Impress : And avid TV drama can attest to the magnetism displayed in a mock courtroom, when the charming attorneys give their closing. Their arguments may be able to sway the jury of their peers, their delivery dazzling onlookers, but it is their dressing that positions them to win. With confident strides and wave of their hands, their dapper outfits immediately exerts a message, "Listen to me!". To use the same visual tool to assist you in an office, or in an external meeting with a client, or giving a speech to the public, always ask yourself, is what you’re wearing going to inspire confidence in your abilities? Think about your audience before you enter the room. What will they wear and how will you be compared to them. An easy rule to remember is to just have 'one extra piece'. If you are in an office meeting with all smart casual dress codes, wear a smart business attire (not sloppy or mismatched). If everybody there comes in with well pressed shirts/blouses, wear a tie. A jacket, well polished shoes, so on and so forth. Don't wedge a gap too much that might convey to the audience you are clueless and way out of reach. And don't be afraid to overdress a tad bit. You are there to be the focal of attention, so bring it. Dress to impress, stand out and deliver the message with authority.
Light a Pathway with Story Telling : Often we mistake incessant rambling that dominates a conversation, as expertise. To convince an audience, we need to engage the audience. And to do that, we need to be a mesmerising and memorable story teller, that can mould complex information in to an interesting tale. Great stories have an origination, an escalation of conflict, and a resolution. Begin by introducing yourself and the task at hand with a hook, that signals the listener to pay attention. Your hook could be a question, a startling statement, an anecdote or a video. Next, bring forth your vision, and paint a vivid picture of what you want to achieve with colourful literary techniques to invigorate the imagination. Interest then is often easiest created by a sense of urgency and necessity. Let them feel the hunger and play with their curiosity, pace the reveal and harness their attention to your advantage. You can use modern business tools to assist your reveal, but to avoid your presentation/speech/discussion interfering with your discovery process, structure your text around your core messages and have supporting facts that enhances, and not muddy the waters. These facts can be illustrated in different ways, revisited and emphasised, but never overestimate their ability to create understanding. Your facts and visuals are just aids, seasoning to the recipe but the main ingredients of the story needs to emanate from you. The introduction must flow naturally to your vision, and progress to a sequence of data that is persuasive and finally a lighted path to deliver your climactic conclusion with flair and conviction.
Do Your Homework : Prepare, practice, revise, rewrite, rehearse and restart if you need to. Do not scoff at notion of having the power of knowledge at your fingertips. Knowledge breeds confidence, and confidence breeds charisma. Your colleagues, counterparts or the audience does not need to know that you have toiled over your data, the likely points that they will bring up to counter your own, and the fact you have your text well rehearsed and down pat. Politicians are aided by speech writers, but they slave over the words and revise and rehearse and rewrite over and over again. Why shouldn't you? It may be enough to deliver an average presentation or engage in a normal conversation with what you already know, but the key is to know what you do not. Study the composition of the audience before hand, anticipate questions that might be asked, and write down the probable answers in your notes. A good speaker is able to survive on talent, but a great orator knows that blood sweat and tears must go into every word uttered.
Make Them Believe : Believe in yourself, and the masses will follow. To convince, you are playing with the psychology of the listener who naturally is reluctant to depart from their own self beliefs. To entice them to come over to your side, you need to show how much you believe in yourself and your messages. You are going to have to come across to them as being trustworthy. The audience will see that you care about what you are spewing, but do you care about what they think? Are you going to be listening to them? While sometimes you will be delivering a monologue that does not allow immediate feedback, include supplementals that answers possible questions. What you need to be looking for is signs, both verbal and visual, that your audience is agreeing with you. With agreement, comes belief, and with belief comes a following.
You don't have to be Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson to own an arena. While he electrifies the room even with just a wink, a raised eyebrow and a toothy smile, that amazing appeal is not merely a god-send without a path of his self improvement. Actors or performers learn their craft and spend years honing their abilities to portray the bewitchery that their profession requires. You can be that 'person' too, the confident and charismatic you, by keeping these five tips in mind the next time you need to make a great impression. Make sure you develop, practice and perfect your posture, appearance, delivery, preparation and wit, and soon you will have an audience orbiting around your words, as you command the room with ease, with a presence that signals warmth and self-belief.
Note: Adrin Shafil is an engineer, currently working as a Drilling Manager in Malaysia. He finds that writing is a great stress relief tool and he finds joy in sharing his insights online and answering any questions from graduates, mid-career colleagues and even fellow managers. If you like his articles, please click 'like', share the article on your profile and connect or follow his feed for more great information and tips.
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Headline crude prices for the week beginning 7 January 2019 – Brent: US$57/b; WTI: US$49/b
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At some point in 2019, crude production in Venezuela will dip below the 1 mmb/d level. It might already have occurred; estimated output was 1.15 mmb/d in November and the country’s downward trajectory for 2018 would put December numbers at about 1.06 mmb/d. Financial sanctions imposed on the country by the US, coupled with years of fiscal mismanagement have triggered an economic and humanitarian meltdown, where inflation has at times hit 1,400,000% and forced an abandonment of the ‘old’ bolivar for a ‘new bolivar’. PDVSA – once an oil industry crown jewel – has been hammered, from its cargoes being seized by ConocoPhillips for debts owed to the loss of the Curacao refinery and its prized Citgo refineries in the US.
The year 2019 will not see a repair of this chronic issue. Crude production in Venezuela will continue to slide. Once Latin America’s largest oil exporter – with peak production of 3.3 mmb/d and exports of 2.3 mmb/d in 1999 – it has now been eclipsed by Brazil and eventually tiny Guyana, where ExxonMobil has made massive discoveries. Even more pain is on the way, as the Trump administration prepares new sanctions as Nicolas Maduro begins his second term after a widely-derided election. But what is pain for Venezuela is gain for OPEC; the slack that its declining volumes provides makes it easier to maintain aggregate supply levels aimed at shoring up global oil prices.
It isn’t that Venezuela doesn’t want to increase – or at least maintain its production levels. It is that PDVSA isn’t capable of doing so alone, and has lost many deep-pocketed international ‘friends’ that were once instrumental to its success. The nationalisation of the oil industry in 2007 alienated supermajors like Chevron, Total and BP, and led to ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil suing the Venezuelan government. Arbitration in 2014 saw that amount reduced, but even that has not been paid; ConocoPhillips took the extraordinary step of seizing PDVSA cargoes at sea and its Caribbean assets in lieu of the US$2 billion arbitration award. Burnt by the legacies of Hugo Chavez and now Nicolas Maduro, these majors won’t be coming back – forcing Venezuela to turn to second-tier companies and foreign aid to extract more volumes. Last week, Venezuela signed an agreement with the newly-formed US-based Erepla Services to boost production at the Tia Juana, Rosa Mediano and Ayacucho 5 fields. In return, Erepla will receive half the oil produced – generous terms that still weren’t enough to entice service giants like Schlumberger and Halliburton.
Venezuela is also tapping into Russian, Chinese and Indian aid to boost output, essentially selling off key assets for necessary cash and expertise. This could be a temporary band-aid, but nothing more. Most of Venezuela’s oil reserves come from the extra-heavy reserves in the Orinoco Belt, where an estimated 1.2 trillion barrels lies. Extracting this will be extremely expensive and possibly commercially uneconomical – given the refining industry’s move away from heavy grades to middle distillates. There are also very few refineries in the world that can process such heavy crude, and Venezuela is in no position to make additional demands from them. In a world where PDVSA has fewer and fewer friends, recovery will be extremely tough and extremely far-off.
Infographic: Venezuelan crude production:
Headline crude prices for the week beginning 31 December 2018 – Brent: US$54/b; WTI: US$46/b
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