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How to Develop Gravitas

Updated on March 4, 2020
Margaret Pan profile image

Margaret has been learning how expanding certain skills can help her advance both her professionalism and her career.

What Is Gravitas?

The meaning of the word "gravitas" has its roots in Ancient Rome. More specifically, gravitas was one of the Roman virtues, a characteristic every Roman citizen was encouraged to develop. When it came to men in leadership however, gravitas was considered an essential trait. It can be translated as a high seriousness, dignity and solemnity. Today, when we say that someone has gravitas, we mean that they look serious and responsible, committed to their work and in control of what they're doing; they are people we respect and trust.

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Apart from being a desideratum for someone who aspired to take a leadership role, gravitas was also an essential virtue for Roman citizens in order to embody "romanitas", the political and cultural practices that defined them.

Why Is Gravitas Important?

Gravitas is an important trait every aspiring individual should have. It's considered one of the most important characteristics needed to have a successful career. Why is that? Well, for starters, gravitas allows you to command respect. Whether you need your boss, your colleagues or your employees to show more respect for you, an enhanced gravitas will help you to do so. Furthermore, when a person has gravitas, he gives other people the impression that he has confidence in himself and his capabilities. As a result, others will not only be likely to trust them more easily and quickly but also be more eager to do business with them. It can also override other important factors such as a person's academic qualifications or work experience.

How Can I Develop Gravitas?

Have you ever been told that you lack gravitas? Or maybe you simply feel it would be a good idea for you to develop it after reading all of the above? Well, fear no more! There are some steps you can take and some things you can change so that you enhance your gravitas:

•Always be well-dressed

•Be careful of your body language

•Choose the right words depending on your topic and your audience

•Take your time while speaking

•Learn to control your emotions

•Don't be too hard on yourself

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Always Be Well-Dressed

No matter how clever and hardworking you are or how important are your academic qualifications and skills, if you show up at a work meeting with dirty, inappropriate clothes, no one is going to take you seriously. Thus, you need to make sure that you always wear clean, ironed, non-provocative clothes, that conform to established professional standards. Keep in mind that the way you dress says a lot about your character, so your clothes need to give people the impression of a serious, responsible person. Suits are always a great choice.

Being well-dressed is a beautiful form of politeness.

— Coco Chanel
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Be Careful of Your Body Language

Body language is a form of nonverbal communication, which constitutes more than 60% of our overall communication and can tell a lot about what a person thinks or feels. From giving a speech to an audience to explaining your ideas to a potential business partner, it is important that you always maintain a good posture, by sitting up straight, with your shoulders down. This will allow you to emit confidence and make a good impression whereas people will listen to you more carefully and become more likely to agree with your ideas.

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Choose the Right Words Depending on Your Topic and Your Audience

Your verbal skills are another thing you'll need to work on in order to develop your gravitas. Depending on your audience and the topic you want to discuss, it is necessary that you choose the right words, which will help you communicate your ideas in a more effective way. For example, if you're planning on giving a speech to an academic audience, a strong, diverse vocabulary will certainly help to impress them, whereas if you're about to speak in front of a crowd of people you shouldn't be too academic but rather use simple words which will most accurately describe your ideas.

Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.

— Dionysius of Halicarnassus
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Take Your Time While Speaking

As mentioned above, speaking skills are an essential key not only to achieving career advancement but also to commanding respect and admiration from others. Another important factor when it comes to those skills, it's the pace at which you speak. Thus, you should ensure that you speak at a reasonable pace, since peaking too slow will result in people being bored and uninterested in what you're saying while if you speak too fast they won't be able to follow and understand you.

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Do You Tend to Get Nervous Before Giving a Speech?

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Learn to Control Your Emotions

When it comes to a developed gravitas, emotional control is another trait you should be focusing on. This trait has two sides. On the one hand, it is important that you learn to leave your personal issues at home. Fights, breakups, financial stress or family issues are things you should leave behind when you're at your work environment or else they will prevent you from becoming successful. On the other hand, when you're having a work meeting for example, and people disagree with your ideas and the atmosphere is tense, you should be able to remain calm. Yelling and being rude is never a solution to disagreements. Instead, remaining calm, putting aside your concerns and working together is the right path to success.

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Don't Be Too Hard On Yourself

Rome wasn't built in a day. It takes time and effort to achieve your goals and become successful. My advise is to be patient and not to be too hard on yourself. It is impossible to reach success overnight, so you should allow yourself to take the amount of time you need in order to expand your skills and increase your gravitas. And always remember: the one who insists, wins.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Margaret Pan

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    • Margaret Pan profile imageAUTHOR

      Margaret Pan 

      4 weeks ago from Athens

      Thank you, Carolyn! I definitely agree with your point!

    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 

      4 weeks ago from South Dakota, USA

      Very good article - some great tips. Words, tone, and body language are all important. If I could add one thing it would be to read constantly and have a grasp on current affairs. Have an opinion, and don't be shy about stating it. If you don't know what's going on in the world, it's difficult to command respect.

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