Getting your “Gravitas” On!

Getting your “Gravitas” On!


When it comes to personal branding, upgrading the impact you make is a critical factor. In order for you to be able to perform at a senior level you will first have to develop your gravitas. But what is it exactly?

The official definition of “Gravitas” states that it was one of the Roman virtues from the past, along with virtus, dignitas and pietas. However it can also represent various things including dignity, or importance, seriousness, weight and also implies a person’s perceived personality depth and individual substance.

Basically it means how others perceive you with regard to competency and importance when they first meet you. Since it is based on someone else’s perception of you, the good news is that it is much easier for you to appear as possessing those qualities. Like the cliché goes – first impressions count. Gravitas is an elusive quality in business, which equates in essence to being positively seen, heard and acknowledged. Through strategically influencing and deliberately taking action, you too can imply the essence of leadership and therefore develop your personal gravitas.

How to find your gravitas in 7 easy steps:

  1. Work on acquiring more knowledge and when you have learnt to apply it correctly, you will gain two of the facets of gravitas – wisdom and power.
  2. Try to keep yourself composed at all times. This requires you to be self-assured and calm, don’t be distracted by fear or frustration. It is important for you to learn how to remain level-headed, regardless of the situation.
  3. Learn to exercise better judgement with regards to: when to ask questions, when to make assertions and when to use attentive silence. Remember to stay on topic and to keep your communication relevant, clear and simple. Listen carefully and don’t interrupt others while they are speaking, or try to dominate the entire conversation.
  4. Your vocal habits could also end up derailing you, so monitor your speech mannerisms and avoid ending sentences in a declarative manner, also known as “up talking” or ending a sentence with upward inflection.
  5. Don’t be arrogant! You will be perceived as being overbearing or insecure by others. Remember you don’t have to prove yourself at every meeting – you are there to “win the war, not the little battles in between.” The idea is to encourage and foster strong relationships with colleagues over a long period of time. Those people who possess gravitas respect others, regardless if they really respect them or not.
  6. Build your network! Make as many connections as possible as gravitas can also be gained through your associations.
  7. As you participate in a situation, try to observe yourself – none of the points mentioned above will work properly unless you figure out how your participation helps, what your role is, what is happening “between the lines” that is not being spoken aloud, as well as what may be needed.

By developing your gravitas as part of your personal branding, you will help others to see you as more trustworthy, marketable and memorable and incredible things will start happening to you!

Michelle Clarke
Michelle Clarke is a Leadership, Expat and Executive Coach with a speciality in Personal Branding. A South African by birth, she is currently based in Santiago de Chile while she coaches clients across the globe using Skype and other web based platforms. She is a lover of photography, animals and all things tech. Visit or for more details.