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Showing 1-10 of 42 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 58 reviews
on July 4, 2013
Increasingly I find myself coaching executives for whom the development need identified, either by them or their superiors, is executive or leadership presence. While a number of books have been written on the subject most offer suggestions on managing the "window dressing" aspects of presence i.e. posture, clothing and use of voice.

Own the Room: Discover your Signature Voice to Master your Leadership Presence by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins offers something different. The authors define leadership presence as the ability to consistently and clearly articulate your value proposition while influencing and connecting with others. They believe that leaders with an effective presence have developed a `signature voice' which they define as a leadership presence that is confident, authentic and effective across a variety of situations and with diverse audiences.

The book begins by addressing three myths (or to my mind three excuses for not taking action): "You are who you are"; "One size fits all" and; "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". The authors point out, quite rightly, that the skills and ways of being that got you to this level in your career may not be those needed at the next level.

Myths dispensed with, the authors go on to introduce a four-quadrant model (they are consultants after all) to enable you to assess your current effectiveness, including which quadrant you are currently most comfortable in, and guide the development of your signature voice. They follow this up with what they term as ACE conditioning which stands for assumptions, communication and energy - the three areas which need to be addressed in order to build a signature voice.

While the book hangs off these two models, the suggestions and examples are both accessible and practical. Each chapter includes drills and action steps and ends with a `What to Remember' section which is amongst the best of its kind that I've seen. The book also follows the journey of two composite characters John and Terri who are used throughout the book to illustrate various points along with a cast of other characters. The stories of these two characters bring the model to life, so much so that one client after reading the book phoned up and introduced himself as `John'.

The Appendix offers a Signature Voice Toolkit to enable you to develop a customized action plan to help address generic issues of presence or to prepare for specific situations.

The book also approaches the issue of our `book cover' i.e. what others see on the outside including the messages our body, clothing and energy give off, thoughtfully presenting it in the context of executive endurance rather than simply dressing for the part.

This book doesn't dilly-dally with the window dressing of executive presence although it doesn't ignore this either. Rather, it talks about building a signature presence from the ground up, starting with who you are, what you value and what your strengths are and then layering on how you communicate and the impression you give to ensure they align.

The book is well written, practical and grounded in leadership presence being first and foremost an expression of your authentic self. Although as another client pointed out sometimes the four quadrant model and the ACE conditioning method don't always hang together as neatly as the they might, the ideas presented in the book offer a sound road map for any leader wishing to develop their leadership presence.
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on May 4, 2013
I ordered this book with the hope of gaining insight on how to enhance my presence when meeting with the principal's of my client firm. The appeal of the book was Amy and Muriel's assertion that leaders are not just born, but also can be made. Naturally, they make it clear that developing the presence of a leader is neither an overnight process nor particularly easy. Only through diligent, conscientious effort can we really expect to make the desired progress toward effective leadership.

Thankfully, this book provides a highly practical step-by-step system for carrying out this diligent effort. The authors utilize a series of thought-provoking drills and exercises that first help the reader to self-diagnose his natural tendencies/biases when assuming a leadership role. While those natural tendencies may have worked well in lower level roles, the authors make a compelling case for developing a "Signature Voice" to be truly effective when interacting with the most senior executives. A Signature Voice is truly personalized and authentic. It finds the appropriate balance of advocacy for oneself and for the team/organization that you represent. The system outlined in the book for discovering your Signature Voice is intuitive, realistic and, most importantly, achievable. I have already begun to incorporate many of the steps in my own day-to-day interactions and have seen immediate results. Own the Room is definitely worth having handy for on-going reference.
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on May 7, 2013
So many corporate leaders say they want to develop "executive presence" in order to advance their careers, but most lack a specific idea of what that means. This book provides a clear framework for understanding how one's "voice for self" and "voice for others" can be diagnosed, developed, and balanced to help attain a place at the table and then to be effective in exercising influence once there. The authors illustrate this with composite case studies as well as examples of known (famous) leaders. They also provide practical help and models to the reader for application to his or her own situation. Short of having a personal coach, you won't find better help than the wise counsel in this book. It has been great to be able to recommend a solid, accessible resource to colleagues and friends instead of just having vague exploratory conversations.
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on March 12, 2017
I liked the books ability to help me create balance in my interaction with others. It makes me aware of my presence to others and how to increase it. This book is for anyone in a leadership role who wants to advance their career. Do the exercises and refer to the book often as a reference. Following the guidelines in this book will increase respect and confidence for the person who reads it. It also increased my ability to work as a mentor and trusted advisor.
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VINE VOICEon November 25, 2015
It may be the style that this book is written but unless you like fable style learning, than move on. The book is written in a way that gives too many examples rather than concrete and academic suggestions.
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on April 29, 2013
I very much enjoyed this book. The authors show you how to enhance your presence from the inside-out. Muriel Maignan Wilkins and Amy Jen Su bring to light the importance of being authentic while still having a presence that is adaptable and connects with difference audiences. The skills they share will help you get your message across to any group of individuals and still own the room. I have worked with some leaders who come across to strong and at the end alienate people who work for them. What's shared in this book would help such an individual as well as the ones who can come off as too soft spoken. I also appreciated how the authors aim to dispel the myths about presence that often hold us back. In my opinion, every current or aspiring leader, manager or small business owner should read this book.
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on April 28, 2013
Own the Room is a must for professionals seeking meaningful, clear and useful leadership guidance. The authors create a wonderful balance between 'how to' and 'storytelling,' offering the reader exercises, visual graphs, and specific steps, while infusing human stories and experiences of the workplace.

The book is well-written, in a tone accessible to all--even to those not operating within a corporate environment. The tenets and lessons translate easily to individuals in a wide variety of work (and life) settings.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to 'improve their game' as they lead a team, work with colleagues and/or 'manage up' in the workplace.
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on July 25, 2013
It is as if the authors have been in my reviews for the last 10 years. For years I have received feedback similar to one of the people in the book. Problem was that I never quite understood what I was doing wrong or how to improve. The book provided examples that have allowed me to create a plan for success. Best part is that I don’t have to become someone else – just a better me.
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on June 27, 2013
I came across this book, thinking it would help me be more effective in my role as a leader for a non-profit. We often have meetings where it is important for me to socialize with others, and quite frankly, that has not been one of my strong points.
I was pleasantly surprised when the book was so much more than just how to socialize at an event. Through a number of very effective exercises, this book not only helped me to be more effective and present in a social setting but totally tranformed the way I prepare for meetings.
Nice job!
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on August 12, 2013
For full disclosure I had the good fortune of attending business school with Muriel Maignan one of the co-authors of this terrific book. It builds on the premise that anyone can become a better leader by learning how to balance their voice for others and voice for self to develop an authentic Signature Voice. It is filled with many great examples and exercises. I plan to use this framework for my own development as well as coaching my team.
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