Ask Esther…I’ve been told I lack “gravitas & influence”!

Ask Esther

Esther Stanhope is an international confidence speaker and communications expert.

A former BBC producer she’s rubbed shoulders with the likes of Madonna, George Clooney, and many global leaders.

She now helps talented women in business, like you, to speak up in meetings and conferences, get their voice heard and radiate charisma, confidence & gravitas.

If you have any questions for Esther about the way you come across in business, as a leader or when you’re chairing a meeting, fire away.  Ask anything.

Email; [email protected].

Hi Esther,

Really like your tweets and read your advice with interest.

Please help.  I work in an investment bank. As you can imagine it’s fast paced, full of forceful confident characters, and quite aggressive. A lot is based on perception.

My poor performance review has really knocked my confidence.

I was told that I…

“lack gravitas and influence to get people to do things”

I think this is unfair.

Personally, I think it’s me not being assertive enough.

Could you give any tips (for women) to be listened to and on how to be more influential and have more gravitas please?



Hi Komal,

First of all thank you so much for your email and I’m so glad you enjoy my Ask Esther articles on WATC and my advice (please do click here for more free great weekly tips)

Ouch! That feedback hurt didn’t it?

Being told you lack gravitas and influence isn’t very helpful, particularly in that cut -throat environment.  It’s more likely to crush you than help you develop in your role!

Let me help you by giving you some constructive advice, tips and strategies you can go away and try immediately.

You need a massive confidence boost.  So here are my top tips.

First – The quick fix “give me more gravitas” tip you can start immediately. 

The power of the POSE.  Tee hee. This is a fun tip.  It’s all about the way you hold yourself.

For a quick 20-minute lesson – the classic Amy Cuddy TedTalk all about body language and science behind your posture and the way you stand will certainly give you a very tangible and practical tip about adopting the POWER pose in the privacy of your own home.

I suggest trying a power pose every morning – then throughout the day in the privacy of your own toilet cubicle.

The broad idea is to stand like wonder woman for 2 minutes!  This increases your confidence levels as your body language sends signals to your brain – which say “I am standing confidently, therefore I must be confident”.

Secondly – The longer-term tip is to work on my POSE mnemonic

A physical and practical little mantra I used on a daily basis while producing LIVE shows at the BBC.

This is particularly useful for women because to be ‘perceived’ as an influencer – you need to display


Have a go practicing these tips TODAY! And notice the transformation…

The Power of the Pose

P – Posture

If you stand/sit up straight and still with strong broad shoulders in a meeting or presentation, this will help you to look and feel more confident.   It also helps you vocally. Think BIG, own your space. Think WARRIOR PRINCESS!  POWER!

O – Oomph

Energy.  We all need energy or the whole thing goes flat.  If you can, warm up, maybe jump on the spot for a moment or wiggle your hips (yes in private not in front of your colleagues or clients!)

Energy comes from enthusiasm for the subject, being physically pumped up makes a huge amount of difference.

S – Speech

Turn up the volume to have more impact, slow down and remember to PAUSE (like Barack Obama) so your brain can catch up with your mouth.  You sound and feel so much more powerful when you use your voice ‘properly’.  The warm up will do wonders for your voice.  (Singing your favourite song in private or repeating a tongue twister is a great physical technique to having a fuller voice)

E – Eyes and Teeth

Smile! A smile makes you look and sound relaxed and confident, plus it helps you vocally.  You’ll look warm, engaging and enthusiastic.  Your eyes show your character and personality, a smile makes them sparkle.  There’s no down-side to a smile. This give you warmth.

I bet if you smile more at work – you’ll create an instant change in how people perceive you.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Here’s to power posing your way to the top.

Eyes and teeth!

Esther x


A Practical tool…

Below is a link to my  “How to get Your Dream Promotion” online self-study programme that will help you every step of the way when it comes to boosingt your career and your confidence.

It’s got nine short videos and an interactive work book. You’ll love it.

BONUS for you.  You can use the voucher code dreampromo50 which will give you 50% off the price, that’s only £77 for a comprehensive guide to getting a promotion.  You’ll love it!

Click here for your dream promotion

Go on invest in yourself!

Related Posts