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EXECUTIVE PRESENCE – 10 Ways to Improve Your Relationships!

by Terri L. Williams


“Being socially connected is our brain’s lifelong passion”
-Matthew Lieberman
Professor of psychology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science

The importance of engaging and establishing relationships with people is an age old tool inprofessional environments. In this light, I pull from the work of Frigyes Karinthy a Hungarian author, playwright, poet, journalist, and translator. He was the first proponent of the six degrees of separation concept, which was first shared in his 1929 short story, Chains. Six degrees of separation is the theory that anyone on the planet can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances that has no more than five intermediaries.karinthy

In short, the concept is based on the idea that the number of acquaintances grows exponentially with a number of links in the chain. Only a small number of links is required for the set of acquaintances to become the whole human population. By extension, the same term is often used to describe any other setting in which some form of link exists between individual entities in a large set.





The phase also inspired the 1993 film of the same name, Six Degrees of Seperation, where actress Stockard Channing makes the profound statement of how important finding the right six people is to each of us.

Please review the trailer of the film here:

Similarly, in 1936, self-help genre, writer and lecturer Dale Carnegie spelled out his plan for getting what you want from other people by changing your behavior. He expounds on the fundamentals of dealing with people and becoming a great leader. Carnegie developed these principles by drawing from examples of persuasive people in history, such as Abraham Lincoln, and from his own experiences. Since Carnegie wrote his book in 1935, his basic principles are timeless. Today, our formal name for connecting and meeting new people in a professional setting, is referred to as “Networking.”


From an Executive Presence perspective, Networking is an element of Communications. In particular, understanding how much time you have to meet someone and make a positive impact on them today is about the length of time of a sound bite.

Our most famous teacher in regard to communications is American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer, and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey. Oprah has always lived by a quote from her favorite poet Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”




We all deal with a myriad of things to focus our attention. Online communications has become the biggest competitor of relationship development, in particular social media.


Facebook, 1.6 billion users, 91`% are millennials, average use 48 min per day, 3.7 degrees of separation, largely used for personal networking and relationships. Primarily used for engagement and visibility.



twitter     Twitter, 310 million active users, 100 million daily active users, 38% are millennial, 83% of world leaders use twitter to distribute information for industry information, thought leadership, and customer service. Primary use for “visibility not engagement”.



Linkedin, 433 million active users, active in over 200 countries, 70% of active users are outside the US; 17 minutes is average time spent per month; 380 million skills listed; 200 average connections per profile; primarily used for networking, professional development, and growth.



Form the past 80 years, ale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People, we learn that listening to what other people are saying is more important than talking about yourself; how positive reinforcement is the best way to motivate others; and which 12 techniques you can use to make other people believe what you are telling them.

dale c how to win10 Ways to Improve Your Relationships
1. Be genuinely interested in other people.
“The expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.”
Dale Carnegie

2. Before criticizing someone else, talk about your own mistakes first.
“Criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home.”
– Dale Carnegie

3. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain about people.
“The only way I can get you to do anything is by giving you what you want.”
– Dale Carnegie

4. Express your ideas in a dramatic way. Use illustrations and showmanship to get your ideas across.
“Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance, and kindness.”
– Dale Carnegie

5. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
“One can win the attention and time and cooperation of even the most sought-after people by becoming genuinely interested in them.”
– Dale Carnegie

6. If you make a mistake, acknowledge it quickly.
“Criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home.”
– Dale Carnegie

7. If you want to change others, start with yourself first.
“It isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
– Dale Carnegie

8. Praise all improvements, no matter how slight.
“Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely.”
– Dale Carnegie

9. Remember people’s names. A person’s name is the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
“The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.”
– Dale Carnegie

10. To feel important is one of the strongest human desires. Always make others feel important and never undermine anyone’s sense of importance.
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
– Dale Carnegie

In summary, whether we are 6 degrees of separation apart or experiencing engagements on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, as human beings we hardwired for connection. Unfortunately, it is not enough to connect with people online there is still a need to meet contacts in person. Personal connections allow you to establish rapport and trust. Successful networking involves meeting new people, collecting information and connecting with “decision makers”, says Orville Pierson, senior vice president of Lee Hecht Harrison, an international career services company.

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