This June I went to a very interesting event organized by IE Management School. It is one of the top business universities worldwide and luckily they organize two events a year in Nice, France too.

This was the second I knew about and the first one I managed to attend. This was the first time and maybe a bit too early one that I went out since my son was born. My wife generously told me that this is not a long event and it’s quite rare to have it around so I should go. A big thanks goes to her!

The event was dedicated to personal branding. Its title was “Pitch Perfect to Improve your Executive Presence: Personal Branding, Body Language and Elevator Pitch” and it was presented by Amber Wigmore Alvarez to about 30 people at the rightly famous Negresco hotel. Amber is the Executive Director of Talent & Careers at IE Management School and her main domains are career management, employability the future of work. She is not just very knowledgeable, but very kind, yet direct too.

Her foundational idea is that given you already have your qualification, like a degree, the most important item for employability is personal branding. You have to be able to make your executive presence. You must be able to create an impactful moment and for that, you don’t only need self-trust and self-confidence, but you have to understand one very important thing:

It’s never about you.

It’s always about what you can provide to others. When the other person is speaking, so many of us are just thinking about what we can say about ourselves and we are waiting for the moment to jump in and take over the word. But in fact, we should listen very carefully and think about what the other person wants. What he needs and how we can help him to achieve his goals.

In my opinion, if we keep this very simple idea in mind, we will connect to people way more effectively than the vast majority.

For so many us starting a conversation is difficult. I mean apart from “hello, howdy?”… Amber gave us some simple, yet effective questions that we can use to start a conversation and make it roll.

Before she moved on to the next section about non-verbal communication, she made a small detour to talk about public speaking.

She claims that on average, people are more afraid of public speaking than dying. Still, we should come over our fears and practice it as much as possible, never turning down an opportunity to speak in public. She also said that at the end of the event we will get a chance. Right at this point, a guy arrived with a quite decent delay and when he sat down he asked with wide-open eyes from the lady sitting next to her if we’ll have to go out and speak. I’m still wondering if this was planned by Amber. But I guess it’s just life.

In the next section of the presentation, she spoke about the importance of non-verbal communication and shared some of the basics and more. I’m highlighting three ideas she shared that I really found interesting:

If you spend some time in the wonder woman position, your testosterone level will go up. Even if you are a man.

Wonder Woman Position

Amber also claimed that you should make a firm handshake whenever you can. As most of the body contacts, this one will also release oxytocin, so it makes people happier. As someone who works in an open office environment, I’d add that you should keep in mind not interrupting the others too much just to release some of this hormone.

As a third one, let me mention that according to studies people will like you better if you can make an eyebrow flash when you meet. Why not. It doesn’t cost a lot, does it?

If you are interested more in these topics, Amber highly recommends to read the books of the former FBI agent, Joe Navarro What Every Body Is Saying and Louder Than Words

In the last part of the event, we had to possibility to prepare our elevator speech and present it to Amber and the audience. I used to be quite shy in such situations but this time I really wanted to benefit from the opportunity which I did in the end. I received some really valuable feedback both from Amber the audience. She also encouraged us to reuse it as a LinkedIn summary which I did. Feel free to contact me.

I’d like to thank both IE Management School and Amber Wigmore for this awesome event. I can’t wait for the next one!