How to Develop Gravitas as a Teenager in 2021

Welcome to this blog on how to develop gravitas as a teenager in 2021!

Many of you might not know what gravitas is, and that’s totally okay. Maybe that’s what encouraged you to click on this blog. Regardless of whether you understand the concept of gravitas right now, you certainly will know about it and how to develop it by the end of this blog!

I first discovered gravitas from my dad about a week ago. He was taking a course by caseinterview and asked me to come listen to what the instructor was saying. The title of the course is, “How to Develop Gravitas for Extreme Career Success.” As I was listening, I realized that his lessons on gravitas don’t just apply to employed individuals; this could be extremely helpful for anyone, especially teenagers. That’s what inspired me to write this blog and spread awareness about the concept.

The dictionary definition of gravitas is “dignity, seriousness, or solemnity of manner.” But, a much better explanation provided by the website above is as followed:

Gravitas is an incredibly useful trait to embody and exude as a leader or aspiring leader of others. When you have gravitas, you get taken seriously. Your opinions and insights are respected and sought after. Everybody in the room looks to you after a heated debate to eagerly anticipate what you think.

When you develop this ability, the room quiets down when you speak, and the executives in the room take notes on what you’re saying. THAT is executive presence.

https://www.caseinterview.com/gravitas-release-ended/

As you can see, the ability of gravitas is a great skill for all teenagers to develop; after all, the earlier the better. Whether you are using it in a speech/debate tournament, practicing a presentation for English class, or even just having a casual conversation with friends, having gravitas is a quality that will help you succeed in all aspects of life.

Close your eyes for a second and imagine walking into a room. All eyes turn on you. You begin to speak and everyone puts their phones down, even the one who never do so (lol.) As you speak, everyone is attentively listening, taking in every word you say. And, even when you end your speech, people are wonderstruck. Your statements are still echoing in their head, and not even a single person turned to their phone yet. They immediately stand up, and the clapping of hands fills up the air.

If you want that imagination to turn into reality, follow these 10 tips below:

1. Be clear with yourself about what you want

how to develop gravitas

Gravitas is about being able to lead as your best and authentic self, and in order for you to be those qualities, you must be clear with yourself about what you want. If you’re aware of what your values and goals are, you are more likely to do things that support them. Ask yourself, “If someone were to describe me to others, what would I want them to say?” It also helps to set goals and find ways to achieve them that relate to your personal values.

When you know what you want, you will go after them, and this will make people see you as a confident and inspirational leader. It all starts with yourself, not others.

2. Be open to feedback

As teenagers, we shy away from constructive criticism. However, we should discontinue this habit as it only prevents us from growing and learning more. None of us achieve our goals every time, and that’s perfectly okay. What’s not okay is not making an effort to learn from this mistakes so that it doesn’t occur again. When our commitments and values don’t align with what experiences other people have of us, it can undermine our ability to build trust and meaningful connections. Great leaders proactively seek to discover what others’ experiences of them are, take responsibility for them, and learn from them.

Ask others in your team, “What could I do differently to make my leadership and our working relationship more effective?” 

3. Build connections

how to develop gravitas

Building connections is a great way to build your gravitas. It allows you to make a greater impact in many ways. Firstly, you are able to broaden your network and have opportunities with your contacts to work together to solve problems. Secondly, you are able to earn more trust. Additionally, you can retrieve information by asking questions to people about their perspectives on different subjects. Take time out of your day to communicate with your peers and ask them how things are going for them!

4. Speak with confidence and influence, without sounding arrogant

Arrogance is the opposite of gravitas. Whenever you are delivering a speech or communicating with other people, always remember to speak with confidence and influence. Sounding confidence is not being arrogant, it is just having certainty and passion in what you are saying. To help sound more confident, it helps to let your voice drop as you finish a sentence, as it conveys authority and makes your sentence a statement of fact. Along with this, speak with influence by having conviction to amplify your message. A couple of tips to help you do that are:

  • Make your voice deep and resonant
  • Pause and be comfortable with silence
  • Breath slow and deep
  • Do not rush your words
  • Be serious
  • Be yourself!

5. Be deliberate and concise

how to develop gravitas

You are judged on the words you choose to communicate your ideas. Keep in mind that what you’re after is quality, not quantity. Talking endlessly is not effective. Don’t use 40 weak words when 10 strong words will convey the idea. If you have an important meeting coming up, don’t just wing it. Give the subject of the meeting some thought ahead of time. If there is a point you want to make or some input you’ll be expected to provide, consider how to effectively and efficiently express that information.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2019/06/13/how-to-develop-gravitas-and-boost-your-executive-presence/?sh=3b84e5ca5ed0

Along with this, take brief pauses whenever you have conveyed a point to help the audience take in what you just said. Don’t rush your sentences, and avoid saying “um” or “like” multiple times throughout your speech.

6. Listen attentively

Remember a time where you were in a room full of people but this person was only listening to you and paying attention to what you had to say. If you remember, you must have felt very special. When you have gravitas, you can make someone feel like they are the only person in the room. Maintain eye contact and listen actively to what the other person has to say. Also, make respectful comments and make it a two-sided conversation.

7. Show positive body language

how to develop gravitas

While body language is not speaking verbally, it is a huge part of communicating effectively and efficiently. The image you create when people think of you should be an impressive one. The way you dress and how you hold yourself tells a lot about yourself that words cannot convey. Fidgeting with your phone or making distracting movements can reduce the impact you make on others. To show that you are listening, you should make eye contact and lean in a bit. Stand tall and lift your head to show that you are an authorative figure. Avoid crossing your arms or hunching your shoulders because you may come across as disagreeable.

8. Display emotional control

As teenagers, we tend to react very suddenly to problems and sometimes don’t know how to take control in certain situations. However, E.Q. is a very significant part of developing gravitas, and you must work on your emotional quotient if you want to have gravitas.

Try to give others a sense that your mind and body are calm and everything is under control, both in your speech and actions. Avoid any emotional outburst – positive or negative – people may judge you as inconsistent and trust you less. Be more reflective and less reactive in the moment. Become more aware of your steady breathing and any arising emotions which may be about to threaten your poise. Also, deeper breathing allows your voice to take on a deeper, more resonant tone, whether you are male or female, and that sounds more trustworthy.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/six-tips-develop-your-gravitas-ian-mckechnie

9. Hone your expertise

Before you start to hone your expertise, you must first know what you are interested in. What do you like to do and what are you passionate about? Once you figure that “niche” that you want to pursue, it’s time time to start learning and becoming an expert in that subject. Connect with people who are well-known in that area, take courses to gain knowledge, and always be curious. Once you do this, you can create opportunities for yourself and others and show your gravitas by teaching and helping others!

10. Be self-aware and authentic

Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, so that you know what to work on and you know how you can use your knowledge in a way that others can learn from. Take time to When you figure out that, only then can you stay true to yourself and be real.

The best kind of gravitas comes from this authenticity, from deep interpersonal trust that you build by being clear about the impact you want to make on others, empathizing and finding out about the people you work with, and adhering to your sense of integrity. You can increase your gravitas and still be you.

https://hbr.org/2020/09/gravitas-is-a-quality-you-can-develop

Don’t try to copy someone else’s style or personality, as that is just going to make people not take you a serious leader.

When you are true to yourself, nothing can stop you from going after what you want and achieving it.

The Takeaway

Knowing how to develop and portray yourself with gravitas is extremely important, especially for teenagers. Many teenagers don’t even know what the concept is, so congratulations to you, as you are taking one step further on your journey to success. Gravitas will help you communicate effectively, improve your decision-making skills, and more importantly, make an impact, no matter how big or small. As a recap, here are 10 ways to develop gravitas to set you up not only for success in your career and educations, but also life:

  1. Be clear with yourself about what you want
  2. Be open to feedback
  3. Build connections
  4. Speak with confidence and influence, without sounding arrogant
  5. Be deliberate and concise
  6. . Listen attentively
  7. Show positive body language
  8. Display emotional control
  9. Hone your expertise
  10. Be self-aware and authentic

If you’re interested in learning more about gravitas, I highly recommend checking out this book, “Authentic Gravitas: Who Stands Out and Why.” Along with this, be sure to watch this awesome TED video, “Want to sound like a leader? Start by saying your name right.” Last but not least, if you’re passionate about leadership, check out my blog on important leadership skills in 2021!

People think that gravitas is something that you are just born with, not something that comes with practice and hard work. After reading this article, it is up to you to prove those people wrong and have a new skill that 99% of teenagers aren’t aware of. One benecifical exercise that can help you with gravitas is filming yourself presenting a speech and noticing your weak spots. Start practicing with this exercise and these 10 tips above, and you’ll be good to go!

It may take a while to build this skill and use it for your benefit, but it will definitely be worth it in all aspects of your life. So, what are you waiting for? Start developing your gravitas so you can increase your chance at success! Good luck!

Next Steps

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