Speak Like a CEO by Oliver Aust

How to become a trusted, charismatic leader

Published about 2 months ago • 2 min read

This week: The Keys to Charismatic Leadership / The Secrets of a Master Communicator / How to Practice Radical Candor

The Keys to Charismatic Leadership

Many founders and CEOs I work with want to be a trusted, charismatic leader with a strong executive presence, superb body language who captivate with their storytelling and are seen in their industry as thought leaders.

There is just one issue: How do you get there if you have no clear definition that breaks down “trust” or “charisma” into a set of skills that can be learned by anyone?

Let’s say you want to develop charisma, trust or a true executive presence, how would you go about it?

Step 1: You define the concept and the skills it entails.

Step 2: You analyze which skill needs improving most urgently.

Step 3: You improve that skill.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 & 3.

Let me give you an example. For a CEO I coach, this meant:

Step 1: Executive presence = gravitas + communication + appearance.

Step 2: Communication, specifically public speaking.

Step 3: Superior speaking skills.

Step 4: Repeat steps 2 & 3.

As a result of following this approach, his presence improved dramatically within a few months.

Over the years (and in my books), I have developed clear definitions to help my readers and coachees in their transformations.

Here are the 12 most important ones:


Trust = competence + integrity + benevolence

Inspired by Jon Levy’s book “You’re Invited”


Charisma = competence + empathy + presence

Inspired by Vanessa Van Edwards


Empathy = mirroring + mentalizing + caring

Inspired by David Brooks


Executive presence = gravitas + communication + appearance


Body language = posture + gestures + facial expressions


Voice = pace + pitch + potency + pauses + prosody (5Ps)

Inspired by Caroline Goyder and Julian Treasure


Story = Intention + obstacles + stakes

Inspired by Andrew Ross Sorkin


Brand = organizing idea + emotions


Personal brand = reputation + value + visibility


Authenticity = What you think = what you say = what you do


Thought Leadership = Expertise x innovativeness x communication skills


Confidence = past successes + preparation + intrinsic self-esteem

I have coached hundreds of CEOs and leaders to develop these skills. Whenever you are ready, let’s talk about how I can help you.


The Secrets of a Master Communicator

Do you want to learn the secrets of effective communication? Join me for an insightful conversation with Howie Chan, a renowned branding expert, on "The Healthy Brand" podcast.

In this episode titled "The Secrets of a Master Communicator – How to Speak and Persuade like a CEO," we delve into the art of persuasive communication, dispel three common myths about communication and share the five essential skills every leader must possess to communicate effectively. We also discuss practical strategies for building a healthy brand.

We are also getting personal: I share the journey of how I pursued my dream of becoming a "spin doctor" at the tender age of 22, and how I ultimately built a thriving brand in the communications industry.

Get this episode’s one-page cheat sheet on “How to Speak Like a Master Communicator” here.

Listen on Spotify and Apple:


Radical Candor

Radical Candor is a revolutionary approach to leadership that emphasizes caring personally while challenging directly. If anything, the book has become even more relevant since it made waves in 2017 which is why I wanted to revisit it.

Kim Scott draws from her experiences at companies like Google and Apple to show how to build trusting relationships by giving candid feedback in a caring way.

The key is to avoid these 3:

  • Obnoxious aggression = acting like a jerk
  • Manipulative insincerity = passive-aggressive, backstabbing behavior
  • Ruinous empathy = failing to provide necessary feedback so that the whole team suffers.

Instead, practice ‘radical candor’: The practice of caring personally while also challenging directly.

The book provides tactical advice for managers on soliciting criticism, praising good work, and getting their message across clearly. With humor and wisdom, this book equips you to be more direct while showing you really care about your team's success. Check out my LinkedIn post on the book here.

Have an inspired weekend!



PS: Share this newsletter with your friends & colleagues here.

“A perfect mix of strategic
and pragmatic advice”
Daniel Hanemann, co-founder and CEO of Wundertax

Eo Ipso Communications GmbH

Friedrichstraße 68, 10117 Berlin

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