This post is part of our Weekly Tips series.

The CEO of a company I work with recently did something unexpected when he stopped by the class I was leading on Being a Trusted Advisor.

He was late by nearly an hour—delayed by others during his prior meeting, which apparently was a doozie. Most leaders would put their game face on, glide in with a brief apology (or not), and proceed to give their talk. This CEO didn’t do that.

Instead, he came to the front of the room, greeted everyone, and said, “I hope you’ll bear with me for a few minutes. I’m winding down from another meeting.”

He said it with humility and quiet confidence. It was a simple, authentic gesture.

Within no time, it was clear he was fully present for the group. And I believe the messages he subsequently delivered were more poignant and powerful because they were delivered by a CEO who also happened to be a fellow human—prone to stressors and distractions like the rest of us, only unlike most of us, willing to admit them.

This CEO’s transparency is a form of improv, which I’ve been writing a lot about lately. It’s “thinking out loud,” which you can practice, too. Feeling distracted? Say something briefly about that. Concerned about the impression you’re going to make? Acknowledge it, with your own humility and quiet confidence.

You’ll get focused and be more accessible as a result—qualities that help build trust in any relationship.

Make It Real

This week, think about leaders you’ve experienced who are powerful presenters. What made them memorable for you? What traits might you emulate?

Learn More


The following two tabs change content below.

Andrea Howe

As the founder of The Get Real Project, I am the steward of our vision and our service offerings, as well as a workshop leader and keynote speaker. Above all else, I am an entrepreneur on a mission: to kick conventional business wisdom to the curb and transform how people work together as a result. I am also the co-author, with Charles H. Green, of The Trusted Advisor Fieldbook (Wiley, 2012).