Great leaders never miss an opportunity to express appreciation.

Barry Kuntz

Great leaders never miss an opportunity to express appreciation.

Video Transcript

One of the traits of a leader is remembering to extend a personal thank after every event.



Executive Presence is more than leadership ability…

It is multi-faceted

Hello and welcome to this week’s EP tip

Great leaders never miss an opportunity

To express appreciation

And this is particularly true when

It comes to leaving an event

As a gracious guest

Leaders seek out the host or hostess

To extend a personal thank you

Within the week

They often follow up with a hand-written card

Handwritten thank-you notes make a lasting…

Memorable and positive impression

Often neglected…always appreciated

Make an effort to say thank you and good-bye

Follow up with a card

Sonya Parker is credited with saying

Almost everyone will make a good first impression

Only a few will make a good lasting impression

How true

Click the link below to see the results

Of Professor Monica Bartlett’s research that proves

Saying thank you grows relationships

See you again soon.

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Mining for gold within your organization: Searching for the next generation of business leaders

next generation business leaders

Earlier this year, McKinsey and Company, the prestigious worldwide management-consulting firm published its findings on searching for the next generation of business leaders. Entitled “Finding hidden leaders,” the article appeared in McKinsey Quarterly* and identified the quest for talent as “one of the biggest headaches for any organization.

Its focus is that companies need to dig deeper to identify promising candidates – to mine the gold – that lies within. This echoes our objectives. At Corporate Class, we recognize that Executive Presence training is a valuable tool for both evaluating prospective, undeveloped candidates and cultivating their potential as future leaders.

The high cost of hiring and developing people

The article describes external recruitment – to fill key roles – as both costly and risky because of the potential for hiring cultural misfits. Today, this perspective is widely shared, as the cost of recruiting, interviewing, and orienting new hires jumps with every step up the corporate ladder.

In late 2016, CCI Senior Consultant Jim Olson** compiled a special report detailing the cost of hiring and developing people across three organizational levels, from entry-level university recruits and mid-level management to senior executives. In addition to charting the specific recruitment and onboarding expenses, it also provides insights into the other implications of hiring mistakes. For example, when a mid-level manager is the wrong fit:

  • Recruiter fees, interviewing expenses, relocation costs, etc., are all lost.
  • The impact on subordinates’ performance based on motivating and demotivating behavior is difficult to measure, but may be significant.
  • If it becomes necessary to replace the person, typically a six-month time frame is required to repeat the recruiting process.
  • When the employee deals with external suppliers and customers, the company’s reputation and the contribution by those constituents to the company’s performance may be negatively affected.

Executive Presence Training has a powerful impact on the bottom line

When an organization invests in professional development for employees, this sends a clear message: “We believe in you.” When people are provided with opportunities to display their latent, underlying potential, the outcome is often as much of a surprise to them as their leaders. They become more confident, eager and ambitious when shown their own self-worth. Executive Presence Training encourages people to strive for achievement and aspire for advancement, and organizations to find their own hidden leaders. This has a powerful impact on the bottom line.

*Read the article in its entirety

**Jim Olson 
Senior Consultant, Corporate Class Inc., compiled this analysis and financial estimate in late 2016. The numbers are consistent with his experience in his corporate executive career and as Chair of Maple Leaf Foods Human Resource and Compensation committee from 2011 to 2015, where Jim continues to sit on the Board of Directors. His report, Cost of Hiring and Developing People, is available as a special supplement to the White Paper: 7 Business Benefits of Executive Presence Training.

Download the White Paper and learn more about the supplementary report

One of the most effective presentation skills is using proper notes

Barry Kuntz

One of the most effective presentation skills is using proper notes

Video Transcript

Good leaders know they reflect excellent business presentation skills when they rely on notes.


Executive Presence is more than leadership ability…

It is multi-faceted

Hello and welcome to this week’s EP tip

When good leaders speak

They don’t rely on their memory

Instead…they use proper notes

To keep them on message

Proper notes list every idea you plan to deliver

No more…no less

Not complete sentences…but ideas

Because that’s the way we talk

In bursts of ideas…separated by pauses

Use proper notes and you will never forget

To say anything important

Use proper notes to prevent you from rambling

To quote Franklin Delano Roosevelt…

Be sincere…be brief…be seated

Follow the link below.

It shows Rick Perry in a 2011 presidential debate forgetting

The name of one of three agencies he pledged to eliminate

If elected

Turns out…he never got the presidential nod but He now is Secretary of this agency…The US Energy Department

Ask yourself…would things have turned out differently

Had he used notes to keep him on track?

See you again soon

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The challenge for ambitious women: Making it to the top

ambitious woman

This past summer, during an address to Google employees, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, the acclaimed expert on workplace power and influence, revealed some startling statistics. For starters, today in the US, only approximately eight percent of top earners are women. This is precisely the same number as 15 years ago.

The real bottleneck occurs just below the most senior levels, in the marzipan layer, where women comprise 34-percent. Yet, at the summit, Dr. Hewlett’s statistics indicate that women only represent:

  • 4.2% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies
  • 15.7% of board members at Fortune 500 companies

Status quo

For over 20 years, Dr. Hewlett has deeply researched how, and what it takes, to reach the corporate world’s top echelons. As the founder and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI),

Dr. Hewlett has spent years investigating the nuances of corporate advancement.
During her presentation, she noted that although there’s been progress at the lower and middle career rungs, CTI wanted to try to determine how people got to the top of US corporations.

What its surveys and research identified is that power is transferred through a replication process. Senior leaders seek to duplicate themselves. They favor people they are most comfortable with, in other words, people like themselves, graduates of the same schools, for example. In essence, the research showed that the long-standing status quo, with white men at the top still prevails.

Less latitude for women

There’s a very narrow window for women. Dr. Hewlett refers to this window as the “Fine Line of Executive Presence,” where women have less leeway. What CTI’s investigation made very clear is that today women are not seen as potential leaders and consequently, rarely chosen. There are four factors, or let’s say excuses, each with a contradictory point of view:

  • She’s too opinionated and too bossy
  • She’s too retiring and passive


  • She dresses too provocatively
  • She’s frumpy


  • She’s too pushy, too show-off-y
  • She’s too self-deprecating


  • She looks too young
  • She looks too old

During her Google address, Dr. Hewlett made very clear that it’s important for all ambitious people to establish specific goals. Another major benefit of setting these markers is that it sharpens the focus on potential sponsors and powerbrokers, people who can actually help to advance careers

Four ways women convey the potential for advancement

We wanted to learn more about Dr. Hewlett’s specific recommendations for women and turned to a Forbes* interview where she gives very clear direction.
Essentially, women must consistently reflect these four behaviors:

1. Focus on developing Gravitas, “the confidence and judgment you inspire in others to follow and trust your vision… it signals that you not only have depth and heft but you also have the confidence and credibility to get your point across and communicate the authority of a leader.”

2. Learn to make compelling presentations, look people in the eye and avoid getting bogged down with notes, lists and slides.

3. Good grooming is imperative at every career stage.

4. Women must make it clear they want genuine feedback and then deal with recommendations unemotionally, not take them as criticism.

*Read the Forbes article in its entirety.

One of the foremost leaderships skills is team building

Christiane St.Amout-Rivard

One of the foremost leaderships skills is team building

Video Transcript

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” typifies great leadership skills

Helen Keller famously made this statement that captures the spirit of teamwork

Check out this movie clip from “Here Comes the Boom” where Kevin James talks about teamwork:

Teamwork With A Cause.

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Connecting with the eyes is essential to excellent presentation skills

Colombe Nadeau-O'Shea

Connecting with the eyes is essential to excellent presentation skills

Video Transcript

One of the characteristics of a leader that clearly says professional presence is great eye contact.

Click the link below for some tips on how to hold great eye contact:

Eye Contact Tricks

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Executive Presence: The first impression you make, and how you behave, communicate and look – mandatory for breaking through the marzipan layer

marzipan layer

The marzipan layer refers to the level of corporate executives just below the top echelon – the “icing,” typically the C-Suite or partners. Although important to bakers as it prevents icing sugars from leaching into a cake, an organization’s marzipan layer may act as a barrier that prevents advancement.

For aspiring professionals, breaking through this layer can be extremely challenging. As part of the process, a candid self-appraisal is imperative but what often triggers a breakthrough, is a straight-shooting mentor who delivers tough-to-hear, yet pivotal information. Sometimes, a wake-up call is an accidentally overheard put down or criticism…

Acclaimed economist and author Sylvia Ann Hewlett is profoundly open about her own transformative experience. Daughter of a “working class Welsh bloke,” today, she’s an internationally recognized for her innovative thinking. Dr. Hewlett is the author of 12 critically acclaimed books including, Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success, and the founding president and CEO of the Center for Talent Innovation.

Growing up in the 1960’s, in the industrial, impoverished coal-mining valleys of Wales where unemployment reached 38 percent, Dr. Hewlett was an excellent student. She applied and was accepted at Cambridge University. Although she excelled at passing exams, “every time I opened my mouth, I let myself down.”

She sounded rough and raw; she mispronounced words and her grammar was shoddy. Like My Fair Lady’s Eliza Doolittle, she dropped the letter H, so Henry Higgins became ‘enry ‘iggins. At the age of eighteen, she wasn’t well read, had never been to the theater, and had spent family holidays at trailer park rentals. Conversation with her well-educated fellow-students was beyond her. She was awkward and ignored.

Dr. Hewlett overheard her tutor saying to a colleague that she “sounded uncouth.” Tough to take. She realized that to get anywhere, she would need to up her game. Unable to afford elocution lessons, BBC broadcasters became her voice coaches. She listened to the radio, read newspapers and bought cheap theater tickets. Her journey had begun.

Dr. Hewlett understood that she had to revise the signals she sent. Although today, it’s nice to think that a tutor would provide feedback to help a struggling student on her way, the point is that criticism not meant for her ears propelled Dr. Hewlett forward. Her genuine, heartfelt story and journey of self-discovery marked the beginning of her drive to excel. This has culminated in her passionate research about the very issues that got her started – the signals people send.

What is so important to understand is that performance and goal achievement alone, are insufficient to break through the marzipan layer. The cornerstones of Executive Presence – the first impression you make, how you behave, communicate and look – often underrated by detractors, actually send the specific signals mandatory for breaking through the marzipan layer.

The skills to communicate that you really know your stuff, that you can present your ideas and that you look like a member of the top level are fundamental to the ultimate selection process of who gets to move ahead and move through the marzipan layer.

Toronto Executive Presence 2-Day Workshop, November 29-30, 2017
We still have space. Learn more

To master Executive Presence, you must be self-aware

Inthida Ngeth

To master Executive Presence, you must be self-aware

Video Transcript

Executive Presence is essential to take you where you know you belong

Discover your strengths with our unique 360-EP assessment and start on your journey of self-discovery:

EP Assessments


Executive Presence is neither exclusive nor elusive.

Welcome to your weekly EP Tips.

In order to master your Executive Presence, you must be self-aware.

You need to know what your strengths and development opportunities are, how you are perceived by others, and what you need to do to get to where you know you belong.

The problem is women tend to be more fearful than men to ask for feedback, and also tend to receive less unsolicited feedback.

A great place to start is by conducting a 360-degree assessment.

As Dolly Parton said:

“ Find out who you are and do it on purpose”

Click the link below to find out more about our unique 360-EP assessment and start on your journey of self-discovery.

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Effective leadership sometimes means letting your team fail. Leadership skills include knowing when to let your team experience failure.

Christiane St.Amout-Rivard

Effective leadership sometimes means letting your team fail. Leadership skills include knowing when to let your team experience failure.

Video Transcript

Leadership Presence is more than just having the title – it is multifaceted

Question: Do you ever give your direct reports an opportunity to be unsuccessful?

Thomas Edison once said: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Giving your team an opportunity to be unsuccessful at something can be a significant learning opportunity.  In the effort of figuring out a method, process or new skill you are giving that individual a chance to learn, and grow but most importantly be resilient.

Make sure you are not giving them a task that is mission critical, offer ongoing support and take the time to debrief each step of the way so growth and development can occur.

If someone has an opportunity to grow and make mistakes we want to set them up for success.

Take a look at this short clip of J.K. Rowling talking about her moment of failure that led to great success.

Please don’t forget to visit our website and blog for more tips just like these.

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Challenging conversations: The “too loud” team member in an open office

difficult conversation

Learn how a coolheaded leader prevented conflict and animosity by mentoring a team member to conduct a difficult conversation with a colleague.

Spring, 2017

Meet Carol, Marketing Director in charge of several teams working in an open office. She has just hired Mark to head up product development and his enthusiasm is immediately apparent. He is obviously thrilled with his new job and shares his excitement in a very loud voice.

Early Monday morning, two weeks later

Just as Carol is about to make a call, she’s approached by Sarah, a clearly distraught junior copywriter; “Mark is driving me crazy. He is just so loud. You have to do something!”

Carol, a seasoned manager adept at working with her high-energy, millennial teams, realizes that Sarah has been fretting all weekend. Carol also understands that by moving the loud team member to another cube, she only transfers the problem to another area. No solution.

Carol knows this is not the time to be dismissive with, “Excuse me, I must make this call.” Nor is it wise to tease with smart retorts like, “Someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed.”

Instead, Carol calms Sarah down, “Do you have a few minutes to talk?” She then suggests an action plan for Sarah and concludes with; “Make Mark an ally, not an enemy.”

One hour later

Sarah had considered confronting Mark but now equipped with Carol’s strategy, she heads toward his area to suggest coffee. Sarah has realized the benefits of getting to know Mark and discovers he, too, is a trained writer. They share a professional perspective.

The next morning

Sarah drops by Mark’s cube. It’s early and he is so animated and hyped about a project, he invites her to attend his debut presentation later that morning. Hmmm, still she bites her tongue.

Early afternoon

Again, Sarah stops by Mark’s cube. He is actually composed and quiet. After congratulating him for his presentation, she takes the plunge; “Can we change gears for a moment? We need to talk about something that’s important and find a solution together.”

“Sure Sarah, and thanks for making me feel so welcome.”

“Here’s the thing, Mark. The acoustics here mean noise bounces off the walls like crazy…”

“I hear you, Sarah, people joke that I’m a member of the Loud Family. Mark Loud, get it?”


Chances are, that if Carol had become involved, tension would have escalated. She coached Sarah to deal with her frustrations in a non-confrontational, meticulously choreographed approach.
Sarah took time to begin to know Mark and vice versa; he was receptive when she touched on a difficult conversation.

Key Conversations Course

Join us Monday, December 4, 2017 for this 90-minute, interactive session at our Toronto Head Office from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. Fee: $225.00
To enroll, contact Michelle Yuen at: 416-967-1221 Ext 107 or Click Here.