I recently ran a Speak Like A Leader Bootcamp for a group of ambitious business leaders keen to up-level their powers of influence.

The training centered around:

  • clarity of vision
  • clarity of strategy to withstand scrutiny
  • strength of conviction
  • and integrity of purpose.


Because when all these factors align, we finally command the respect we need in a world drowning in fluff, noise and mediocrity.

I’ve packaged our insights into 9 laws to influence, each of which is designed to accelerate your own power in business. Enjoy.

Enter the 9 Laws….


Many leaders are not clear on where their business is headed. They cannot articulate a clear vision and leave their audiences uninspired at best and confused at worst.

It is also common for many businesses to lack imagination. They follow everyone around them, and rather than aim for the heights of possibility, pick low-hanging fruit. There may be security in consensus, but the returns will always be unspectacular.

So, time to pick an exciting vision, one that will inspire you and your teams to keep striving. Get razor-sharp on exactly where you want your business to go and clarify why this is important. We need to expand our imagination to consider possibilities we ordinarily wouldn’t think of day-to-day. It is our imagination that will create exponential growth over sluggish incremental change – or even collapse.

Armed with an inspired vision, you’ll become less easily swayed by the agendas of others. If we do not have a clear vision, we pave the way for others to derail us. We may be lead in less beneficial directions, and won’t have a handle on where to steer our own ship. Self-doubt and fuzzy focus will invariably lead our teams, stakeholders and customers to loose faith in our offering.

So, grab the helm with a firm hand. Lead your teams by giving them clear direction. Tell your customers exactly where you stand.

You may not win approval from everyone, but you’ll attract the stakeholders that matter.


We live in a culture that celebrates grievance. Many people have jumped on the bandwagon of complaint, and the loudest victims are now the ones that get the most attention in our online world.

But, what a collosal waste of time. We may have been victimised in the most egregious circimstances, yet bemoaning our victimhood only decimates our power in the long run.

When you identify with being a victim, you will always remain a slave to your limiting perceptions. You’ll think the same as you’ve been conditioned to think, you’ll feel the same as you’ve always felt and you’ll speak in the same familiar patterns. Your past becomes your predictable future and nothing will EVER change.

We are not victims of our past — unless we chose to be. But we have to recognize that it is a choice and one that will hold us back.

To have true power whenever you lead and commuicate, you must move from victim to creator and speak from this position of strength. It is you who decides who you will be irrespective of other people’s expectations. The power is in your hands.

So, start to imagine the thoughts, emotions and behaviors of this greater more empowered you. How does the best version of yourself show up? What do they think, feel and ultimately say under pressure?

The difference between winners and losers is simply this: practice. You must practice these new choices every day to teach your body both physically and emotionally who you want to become. When you re-invent your behaviour, you tell others how you want to be treated and how it’s going to be from now on.

So, ditch the past. Speak, not as a victim, like so many others, but as an exciting creator. You have the power. You just have to recognize it.


When a person feels intimidated by another person or situation, they manifest their subservience through a lack of stillness. We say too much, move too much and certainly think too much. This hyper-reactivity signals a loss of power.

In any negotiation, and despite the inner storm of emotions, you must become effortlessly non-reactive. By distinguishing yourself as the embodiment of relaxed stillness under pressure, you will be perceived as strong.

You do this by slowing down your breathing and thus movements to indicate a level of detachment unblemished by circumstance. When your breath and body are calm, you show clear control over your physical and emotional self. This is power.

You also respond at your own pace and do not allow anyone to dictate the frame. That way, you can exercise the appearance of authority regardless of the reality of the power dynamics at play. Your non-reactivity will give the impression that you have control when in reality you may be feeling vulnerable.

The problem for most of us is that we have no idea how to self-regulate to this masterful degree when the heat is on. The nervous system has been out of balance for so long that we mistake its hyper-reactivity for normal. We’re stuck in historic neurological hardwiring.

So, when the pressure is on and the nervous system starts to fire, you have to immediately STOP. You must break the program by give yourself permission to pause so that you can finally breathe. With a deep breath, you can finally assert yourself.

Get out of the stress response as fast as you can. Once you’ve successfully unhooked from the usual emotional triggers, you’re back in the game and can play at a superior level. You regain access to your strategic thinking and can start to make more powerful choices.

It takes a lot of energy to stay conscious enough to catch your daily triggers and stay non-reactive. But if you’re persistent and keep reminding yourself that you’ll refuse to give your power away to other people, you can use that power to leverage a situation to your advantage. You can channel your energy to look strong, sound strong and build the influence you crave.


Silence, if used well, is power. It communicates strength and stability, which is good news for introverts. You don’t need to be a loudmouth to get your point across. You can stay softly spoken and quiet, yet wield much personal power.

It is often said that the loudest person in the room is the weakest. Whilst that’s a generalization and some situations necessitate a projected voice, it is often the more reflective unreactive types that possess real power. They’re not easily riled by others and their sparing use of sound means that their words have 10x more impact when they do speak.

Speech that is permeated with silence indicates authority. If you can take the opportunity to pause and hold the tension, you show strength of character. Because a confident person won’t rush for anyone.

Most of us do the opposite. We rush through our messaging, cramming as much detail into a few short moments without any room for pause. All we want is to get to the end of our point — and move on. But this only serves to signal that our message isn’t worth attention. If we ourselves don’t give our message the attention it deserves, no one else will.

Try to pause more. Before you speak, pause for a few moments and expect to be listened to. Pausing demonstrates that what’s about to come next is considered, precise and powerful. We refocus people on our message and encourage them to consider its meaning.


A powerful person doesn’t waste words. They say less, not more, and speak with razor-sharp precision. When you can speak to the point without embellishment or apology, your message takes on a powerful credence.

Most people use plenty of words to say very little. They preface their speech with filler words, empty hyperbole and over-explanations. But rather than cover up a lack of confidence, these extra syllables simply showcase their doubt.

So, cut the linguistic fat. Use the fewest words to convey meaning, and if it’s possible to cut a word, cut it. Don’t waste time agonizing over a clever turn of phrase if it contributes nothing to meaning. Be ruthless and edit out the unnecessary.

It takes real skill to say less. The art of simplicity requires enormous self-control. We must learn to tolerate the discomfort we feel in silence, and rather than clamor to fill the void, we must hold back. Because if we don’t, we come across as weak and easy to exploit.

Information is power and we can use silence to temper the flow of information in any negotiation. By holding silence, you can control what you reveal. You give yourself the space needed to curate your message.

Guard against your own imprecision and never forgget that brevity is power. Whilst your peers flail in waffle, you’ll vibrate with a sincerity that cannot be faked.


Ours is an age of quick gratification. People are so impatient for results that they refuse to sit in the silence required to create an effective strategy. When you can’t listen out for the quiet nuances that elevate your decisions, you sabotage your own power. Abstract intelligence will be lost in a sea of impulsive haste.

Impatience does not create an effective leader or indeed power in speech. When we act before thinking, we’re just another slave to impulses — and it’s obvious. We may seem impassioned in the moment and might impress those naive enough to mistake impulsivity for strength, yet in reality, we will be lost in confusion.

Silence gives you back the power to cultivate effective strategy. But you have to master your patience so you can tolerate the silence required. The most powerful decisions are made outside of the echo chamber and away from chaos.

Silence also gives you time to interrogate your emotions and consider how proportionate your response is. You can strategically evaluate all choices, envision the numerous iterations of what could happen, and project yourself to vantage points forward in time. Just like master chess players, this is the only way to evaluate the best course of action.

If a challenging situation should catch you by surprise, you’ll be able to adjust, regain self-control and appear nonreactive fast enough. The fact that you’ve already walked yourself through each situation will put you in good stead to handle the unexpected whilst still seeming undisturbed.


Never give your power away to other people.

The moment you see others as having the power to make you happy or successful is the moment you become vulnerable. You are at their mercy.

You may for example find yourself compelled to be “nice” and to say the “right” thing to avoid confrontation. Or, you may be too worried to push back and assert your boundaries. You may work too much, burn out and then wonder why your voice has no power.

People-pleasing is endemic in the business world and leads to all sorts of resentments that fester beneath the surface. While understandable, it is this very resentment that signals a lack of personal power. A very pleasing yet secretly resentful person is rarely taken seriously.

Time to develop some bite. You do not need a single person, situation or deal to make you feel successful. In fact, in any negotiation, you too are assessing the other person to see if they are a fit for your requirements. And, if not, you will simply walk away. Because you will no longer settle for less than your worth.

Before you enter a high-octane situation, remind yourself that you don’t need the deal. If you don’t get it, it doesn’t bother you. And if you do get it, cool – but it will be on your terms, and you won’t pay too much.

When you can say no, you’re free. Its acting as if you have “f-you” money before you have it. Ironically the opportunities will chase you the more you exercise the power to walk away.

To develop this level of courage, you must cultivate a more emotionally detached perspective. Rather than waste your energy on impressing people or seeking their approval, lean back and cultivate a dispassionate presence. This isn’t about being rude, but about refusing to jump through hoops to please another.

When you take back control, you elevate your status. You’re no longer easily cornered or put in a box. You are a person of power.


Most people try to dominate the conversation. They say too much, reveal too much and endlessly opine. They are mostly disinterested in what you have to say and want to get back to their favorite subject: them.

People will exaggerate stories to impress you. They’ll often parrot what they’ve heard online without any deep understanding of what they’re talking about. It’s mostly secondhand information regurgitated to sound clever.

When in conversation, say less and listen more. Rather than waste energy fretting over how you come across, learn instead about others by observing their motivations. What are their body language habits and facial expressions? Do their eyes dilate? Are they swallowing, blinking or frowning? Watch out for slight changes in the muscles of the face and notice if the person is uncomfortable. You don’t have to dominate the conversation because you’ve no need to compete. Stay secure and quiet — and observe.

If you’re quiet enough, you’ll read between the lines and detect what others are secretly thinking, often unbeknownst even to them. With that intel, you can lead the conversation in the direction you want, not by saying too much, but by asking simple questions and guiding people along.

The most powerful business people hone their communication skills by improving their powers of observation. When you can deeply understand your counterparts, your strategies will have far more influence.

You’ll know what to say and when to say it, and you can be far more strategic with your actions.


If you believe other people have to approve of you before you can feel good, then you’re back to the victim program. It is in fact an affirmation that says, “I’m not okay. I need others to approve of me in order to feel secure.” Gradually you’ll become the manifestation of other people’s preferences, subject of course to all their fickle whims and power trips.

No person or thing must get in the way of your vision. You must back yourself regardless of what anyone thinks. To be accepted, accept yourself.

The challenge here is our hardwired need to belong coupled with our fear of rejection. If we speak as we are and not as we should, we risk the judgment of our tribe. And, without a proper system of self-regulation, it’s almost impossible for people to tolerate this rejection. Far easier to default to our people-pleasing program where we feel safe, acceptable and agreeable. But at a huge cost: our authentic voice.

This explains why, when we are called upon to excel under pressure, rather than actually rise, we scramble to fit in and say the “right” thing. We feel like a constant performance puppet in search of validation.

But while we’re busy giving away our power, we lose clarity of vision and robustness of language. We lower our status.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

We can take our power back. We have to reject conformity, think for ourselves and tolerate the pushback. We have to give considerable thought to our ideas and consider all objections. And we have to admit, that at the end of the day, when all things are considered, we do not know. No one does.

This is the only gateway to our vitality and conviction in the self. Being right no longer matters. What matters is our belief in our self.

In fact, as you build your personal power, the more naysayers you will attract. Most people prefer to live quietly dispiriting lives as guardians of the status quo. They will be the first to feel threatened by your power. Because as you rise, you expose their fear of growth and their only solution will be to tear you down.

Never let the weakness of others stop you and never seek their approval. Go a step further and be grateful that you can’t please everyone. It means you’re advancing in a powerful direction.

When you can speak from this place of assurance, you’ll feel your own influence. And you’ll never again have to ask — how do I command respect?  You just will.


Few possess this silent power. They constantly give themselves away mentally, physically and emotionally. They ramble, fidget, seek reassurance and act out their emotional chaos.

But by wielding the incredible power of silence and with the committed practice of these advanced strategies, you too can speak with greater potency in any business conversation.