Mastering Powerful Presence

The Psychology of Confident Leadership

It’s a common myth that you either have “executive presence” – that essence that helps you to command a room – or you don’t. This course deviates from traditional presentation skills training and combines the science of positive psychology with the art of theater. Techniques for promoting presence and maximizing fluency in talking about your value, sharing accomplishments, and telling your personal story will culminate in you developing an authentic and influential set of storytelling skills.

Skills You Will Learn

  • Learn how to communicate more effectively and confidently by discovering what Executive Presence is, and how mastering it can affect our internal and external qualities.
  • Discover how our spoken and unspoken communication can change our presence, and the differences between them – then learn how to align the two, so that you can demonstrate more Executive Presence.
  • Gain insight into how your existing presenting and communication habits might be diminishing your impact and influence – as well as support on how to improve them.
  • Learn new techniques for controlling nervousness, and how to improve your communication to present a clearer, more complete message.
  • Develop authentic and influential storytelling skills, including how to share parts of ourselves, helps us connect to and influence others.

About Host

Shannon Polly

Shannon Polly

Coach, Speaker, Playwright, Author & Company Founder

Shannon Polly is a coach, speaker, author, and founder of a leadership development company. She is an award-winning playwright, holding a degree from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in classical acting. Shannon is also a graduate of the Georgetown Leadership Coaching Program, author of numerous psychology books and blogs, and the co-editor of the best-selling non-fiction: Character Strengths Matter: How to Live a Full Life.

Course Outline

Week 1
Powerful Presence and Knowing the Audience

This first week we will look at what is (and isn’t) a powerful presence. The good news is that with practice you can learn to increase your presence. And this week we will take our first steps in learning how to reduce tension, help craft your intention, and have you cultivate your attention. We begin, though, where all speakers must; with audience analysis and a look at the structure and content.

Week 2
Internal Presence

For the coming week we will be looking at internal presence – how you can build your confidence. We will look at your objective for a talk or communication, followed by how to manage that inner critic that sometimes tries to sabotage us. We have a great deal of strategies to share this week which can help manage nerves: you may have heard of breathing, and visualizing, but we also have some unique ones like eating greasy chips!

Week 3
External Presence

This week we will look at some of the many aspects of external presence: the Five Ps (pace, pitch, projection, posture, pausing), as well as eye contact, movement, gestures, and rest positions. If you speak slowly, for instance, you could be perceived as not smart, or you could be giving the audience time to process. Conversely, speaking quickly can make people see you as smarter, or they might miss what you are saying. Make sure that you are consciously competent and making that choice.

Week 4
Structure and Content

This week we are going to look at how to prepare for a presentation and how to structure that presentation. Starting with strategy, to the body, and then the introduction. We’ll also look at how to structure for an audience who is short on time.

Week 5
Storytelling and Vulnerability

This week we are going to approach presence from the angle of storytelling. We’ll look at the art and science of storytelling, the story pine, passion pitch, and vulnerability. Stories are crucial to being a powerful presenter. Your only real job in giving a talk is to have something valuable to say and to say it authentically in your own unique way.


Discover is Shannon’s master class, a brief insight into your existing presenting habits and learn how to communicate more effectively and confidently.

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