Will you be a candidate for the next Person of the Year?

Donald Trump recently notched up his second significant victory of 2016, winning TIME magazine’s Person of the Year accolade. With competition from Beyoncé, Nigel Farage, Mark Zuckerberg, Hillary Clinton (again) and six other nominees, it may a good time to assess what characterises all these people.

The shortlist is defined by TIME as ‘those people who most influenced the news, for better or for worse’, so they have somehow managed to make an impact through what they have done or said – or both. Certainly, looking at the list of candidates, they seem to have very little in common, and since past winners of the award have included Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin (twice!), being innately good or ethical isn’t a factor. So what is?

Increasingly, we are recognising the value of those people who have the drive, focus and energy to capture the imagination of their audience, then motivate them to reassess their own attitude and consequently be prepared to act in a different way.

The ability to inspire others, to influence their thinking and behaviour, is one of the key characteristics of every good leader, and – contrary to popular perception – it can be learned.

The foundations of these characteristics are belief and confidence, and both can be significantly enhanced through understanding more about the processes and psychology of verbal and non-verbal communication.

As Programme Director of the Henley Influence and Impact programme, Peter Nelson has helped thousands of business leaders to enhance the effectiveness of their negotiations and presentations,  both at a one-to-one level and when addressing a larger audience. His insights into the changes we can all make in our posture, body language, speaking tone, speed of delivery and use of pauses have changed lives.

‘There are so many myths surrounding effective delivery, but on the programme we give hundreds of tips and techniques that can help anyone to achieve transformational results almost immediately,’ says Peter.

‘Leaders can be open and extrovert, but can equally be more thoughtful and private,’ he adds. ‘When judging whether someone is influential, it’s important to separate the person from the message, and there have been lots of examples recently of people who have been extremely influential, even though lots of people strongly disagree with their message. And the nominations on the TIME list demonstrate that perfectly.’

So while it may be some time before you reach the dizzy heights of TIME’s Person of the Year, it seems that you can still boost your own personal effectiveness and credibility.

To find out more about the Henley Business School’s Influence and Impact programme, visit henley.ac.uk/influence.

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If you have any questions, please contact our programme advisors, Hannah, Ruhi & Diana by email at exec@henley.ac.uk or by phone on +44 (0)1491 418767.

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