Last month, I had the opportunity to hear Connie Dieken, executive coach, author and leadership expert, speak at a Women’s Network of Northeast Ohio event. I wasn’t familiar with Connie’s leadership philosophy going into the event, so didn’t know how much I’d relate to her concepts. As it turns out, the topics strongly relate to my day-to-day experiences.

The overall lesson of Connie’s presentation, Become the Real Deal: The Proven Path to Influence and Executive Presence, was that once you become the real deal you’ll become the leader you’re meant to be – someone who can effectively influence others to take action. This concept, while compelling, is hard to wrap your head around without context. Colleagues and leaders influence me every day in ways I cannot describe. How do they do it? And how do I get there?

Connie effectively broke it down for the attendees with themes I could relate to and on which I could reflect. She spoke with us about her methodology, which she attests can make anyone successful. It involves three steps – connect, convey and convince – that can drive your actions in the workplace.

CONNECT with anyone

  • Capture attention instantly
  • Demonstrate power and presence

CONVEY anything

  • Speak succinctly and with purpose
  • Eliminate rambling and avoid confusion


  • Influence the action you want
  • Empower and inspire others

Even more compelling was her overview of the three qualities that combine in leadership presence and influence. The qualities are inner presence, verbal presence and outer presence.

1. Inner Presence: a steadiness based on a sense of purpose greater than yourself that doesn’t rise or fall in response to people or situations.

2. Verbal Presence: the credibility to transform rhetoric into results by connecting, conveying and convincing others to follow.

3. Outer Presence: the ability to match your intentions with your impact so that others are drawn to you, trust you and respect you.

The real-world anecdotes and examples Connie shared helped drive home her concepts and, at times, I felt she was speaking directly at me. How does she know the exact challenges and opportunities I face each day? I imagine I’m not the only one who was asking herself that question! Connie’s latest book on becoming the real deal was the leave behind, and I look forward to reading it and applying its principles in my role at AKHIA.