Capturing the attention of a room is a skill that training can improve.

Learning how to take control of a room

We all know those people – individuals who by sheer force of personality can dramatically impact the tenor of a room. Whether in a business or social situation, the ability to be assertive and commanding, without being intimidating, is a rare gift. Some people are born with it, some have to develop it.

That’s the good news – a commanding, charismatic presence can be nurtured through leadership training. By following the example of those individuals mentioned above, you too can stride confidently into a meeting and dictate its direction. Let’s look at some of the most effective tips for taking control of a room.

Command attention in meetings with assertiveness skills training. Command attention in meetings with assertiveness skills training.

Be mindful of your body language

In most cases, people in a room are going to see you before they hear you, so presenting a confident and assured physical presence is often the first step of your journey. Author and women’s leadership speaker Selena Rezvani writes for Forbes that the image we project is a huge part of how people interact with us. A dominant posture, for example, can cause people to unconsciously defer to someone’s authority.

Making gestures while speaking is also a valuable communication tool. Fast Company suggests that “image gestures” are particularly effective, using your hands to visually help people understand the point you are making.

Presenting a confident and assured physical presence is often the first step of controlling a room.

Use your emotions wisely

The common perception of an effective leader may be an individual who is able to put their personal feeling aside in service of achieving a wider goal, however we’re all human and have our own feeling and perspectives. Improving your assertiveness doesn’t mean putting aside your emotions, but rather using them appropriately for each situation.

“We are hard-wired to notice strong emotions in others,” says communications consultant Nick Morgan, writing for the Harvard Business Review.

“They leak their emotions to us; we are infected with them. That’s how they take over a room.”

If you’re delivering exciting news, you should be radiating that excitement yourself, creating a chain reaction among your audience.

Deliver the goods

While you may have the body language and emotional management to command your environment, all of that must be supported by the message you’re trying to get across. Once you have captured the attention of the room, solidifying your influence requires a clear, relevant point.

Grabbing the attention of others in a room is only half of the battle – you need to deliver on the promise of your persona with worthwhile information. If you’re not only the most assertive person, but also the most informed, you’ll easily be able to maintain the necessary level of authority and command.


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