Own The Room Book Summary & Review

Leadership Mindset

Own The Room by Amy Jen Su and Muriel Maignan Wilkins teaches you how to develop your leadership presence using the ACE (Assumptions, Communication, Energy) framework, bring out your own signature voice, connect with the audience, and make a strong impact.

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Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence
  • Hardcover Book
  • Su, Amy Jen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages – 04/09/2013 (Publication Date) – Harvard Business Review Press (Publisher)

Last update on 2023-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

Own The Room Summary [Pdf]

Do you find it hard to connect with people while giving any presentation or participating in a conference?

Do you feel that people ignore you when you speak?

In this book summary, I’ll share the best lessons from this book that will help you become a leader who can build a deeper connection with his audience and make an impact.

Alrighty, so without further ado, let’s dive right in.

Lesson #1: Leadership presence is not some innate talent.

a man with leaderhip presence

Leadership presence simply means how much connection and impact you have over the audience.

And the best part is that it’s not reserved for so-called great personalities.

Even a simple person like you and I can build a terrific leadership presence with practice.

So if leadership presence is not a talent, what really makes it up?

Most people think that leadership is all about your body language and how you say.

But there is more to it…

The author says that clarity in vision and values is critical as it impacts what you think and speak.

People can feel it if you are not authentic and don’t believe in your own words.

This is also why you shouldn’t try to mimic other great leaders without understanding their values.

Think about great leaders Steve Jobs and Bill Gates.

You can learn how they talk. You can observe how they dress.

But do you clearly understand their vision and values?

Maybe yes, or maybe not.

A great leadership presence requires you to be authentic.

And it should be unique to you.

Your values are different from other people’s.

If you copy a leader blindly, you might have to sacrifice your values.

And if your words don’t represent your beliefs, you won’t be able to build a powerful voice in front of your audience.

Eventually, everybody will realize that you are not a true leader and mimicking successful people to achieve selfish goals.

The author says that you have to become comfortable in your skin.

You don’t need to ditch your true personality just to look great in front of your audience.

What makes presence is not just the clothes you wear, the words you speak, or how you think. Rather, presence requires alignment between your mind, body, and words. Your presence is an interconnected system of your beliefs and assumptions, your communication skills, and your physical energy.

Own The Room

Many people don’t think they can become a great leader with a presence because they carry so many false assumptions about themselves and leadership.

They think they can’t be a great leader, which is totally wrong.

Anyone can become a leader if he is willing to put in the effort.

Nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it.

Suggested read: How to develop the leader within you?

Lesson #2: An influential leader has a signature voice.

a boy speaking in a loudspeaker

In the book, the author talks about developing your SIGNATURE voice.

Now, what does it mean? And how to develop it?

Allow me to explain.

A signature voice is a strong voice guided by your values that can connect powerfully with your audience.

Yes, it’s hard to develop one.

The challenges here are: It’s difficult to do both things simultaneously.

First, there is your voice that is based upon your values.

Second, there is an audience with a different set of values altogether.

You can also say that there are two voices: Yours and the Others.

If you are not considering other people’s voices, the audience won’t be able to connect with you.

And if you are only considering the audience’s voice, your words won’t hold power as you won’t stand for anything you strongly believe in.

You have to find common ground between yourself and the audience.

When you can use both of them in harmony, you have found your signature voice.

The key here is to build a strategy and decide how you want your signature voice to be.

Often, great leaders have a strong signature voice that makes the audience spellbound.

All that is impossible if the audience doesn’t understand what you communicate.

Remember that communication mostly happens on the listeners’ terms.

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Lesson #3: Update your values when necessary to build a presence.

Often, leaders think that just because they have the expertise, the audience must agree with everything they are saying.

After all, it took the leader a lot of work to build expertise, right?

In theory, this sounds good, but it doesn’t work in real life.

The more a person knows about a topic, the more he realizes how much he doesn’t know.

While on the flip side, the audience might not be experts on a topic, but they think they know everything.

It might be frustrating for a leader.

But in such cases, the author recommends that the leader question his assumptions first.

The assumption here is that the audience should agree, as they are listening to an expert.

A great leader keeps updating his assumptions according to the situation.

If the assumptions create a barrier in the communication, you should immediately question them.

After all, the goal for a leader should be to create value and not force people to accept his or her values, right?

Your values can either bolster your presence or get in the way.

Own The Room

Please note that this doesn’t mean that a leader must become a puppet of the audience and say only what the audience wants to hear.

You will have to develop a sense of measuring how strong your voice should be.

The question is:

How will you do that?

Also learn: Why do great leaders eat last?

Lesson #4: Be a great listener to develop your communication skills.

a leader listening to his follower

Any great leader has this skill: He or she is a great listener.

Why is listening important for a leader?

That’s because you can’t respond effectively if you haven’t heard the other person.

We tend to get lost in our train of thought and often wait for our chance to speak.

A leader might assume that he is supposed to express all the time.

But this is not true.

Staying silent and listening carefully is also crucial during any communication.

This helps the audience feel more connected with the leader.

You might be wondering when is the right time to speak and when is the right time to listen.

So the answer to this question depends a lot on your experience in dealing with such situations when you have an audience to interact with.

You won’t build this ability overnight.

There is no replacement or shortcut for experience.

The point here to note is that you don’t have to do any speaking or listening in the extreme.

If you are not speaking anything, it might send a signal to your audience that you are not confident enough. And it will impact your leadership presence.

It’s also vital that before you start interacting with your audience, you show a clear picture of the outcome the audience will have by the end of the session.

This keeps the audience interested or focused on what you are saying.

It also helps you control the flow of communication.

Lesson #5: Your body language affects the impact of your words on your audience.

a leader with open body language

It’s a cold hard fact that no matter how robust your words are, if they don’t align with your body language, they won’t make much difference in the minds of your audience.

The author shares concern over how hard it is to figure out how people perceive.

Unless you have a mirror right in front of you, you can’t say much about how you are being perceived.

That’s why she sometimes uses video cameras in her training to make students see how they are looking from the audience’s perspective.

Unconsciously or consciously, our body sends various signals.

It’s essential as a leader that both your body language and words align together so that you make the maximum impact possible.

Many of us have heard the phrase, “Never judge a book by its cover.”

Unfortunately, that’s not how our bodies and mind function.

People judge based on how you look.

People tend to make assessments about the knowledge, expertise, or competency of the leader by looking at the body language of the speaker.

Own The Room

So if a leader is not taking care of his body language and appearance, he might send wrong signals to his audience.

Talking about presenting yourself, you don’t have to worry too much about your clothes or your looks.

Just look presentable enough so that your audience doesn’t get distracted.

Also, have an open body language. The author says that having an available body language shows the audience that you are open to feedback, and it keeps your audience engaged with the conversation.

A lot of leaders make this mistake, they don’t show energy and excitement while delivering their words.

As a result, their message seems weak, and they lose their audience.

You can practice in front of a mirror and correct your body language over time to fix this problem.

Read more: How to be a 360-degree leader in any organization?

Own The Room Review

Own the Room: Discover Your Signature Voice to Master Your Leadership Presence
  • Hardcover Book
  • Su, Amy Jen (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages – 04/09/2013 (Publication Date) – Harvard Business Review Press (Publisher)

Last update on 2023-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon

Who should read this book?

I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to build a leadership presence and connect with multiple audiences.

Anyone from a manager to a college student interested in learning leadership or public speaking can read this book.

What did I like about this book?

The authors have made such a not-so-often talked topic very simple using the ACE framework.

What didn’t I like about this book?

Although the book covers various aspects of leadership and public speaking like body language, mindset, etc., one might find it challenging to put the ideas into practice and require some handholding.

I urge you to read this book at least once if you have never held a big audience and feel underconfident while delivering any speech.

👉Get the book on Amazon

Now it’s your turn

There you have it.

I hope these lessons will help you build a strong leadership presence.

Now you tell me:

Have you ever been in a leadership position?

What were your initial experiences?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

Shami Manohar

The Brain Behind Wizbuskout.com

I am Shami Manohar, the founder of WizBuskOut. My obsession with non-fiction books has fueled me with the energy to create this website. I read at least one book every week on topics such as business, critical thinking, mindset, psychology, and more.

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