Seasoned business leaders face a shared struggle: sometimes they get the traction they want with people, while other times it feels like they’re spinning their wheels. It’s not luck that makes the difference. Leaders must be able to persuade and influence those they lead to get results in a positive way. Finding the win-win in every interaction is critical to achieving this, as their team and stakeholders must willingly go in the direction they’re asking them to go.

It’s the integration of these skills—persuasion, influence, and negotiation—that allows leaders to gain traction and develop high-performing, fully engaged teams.

Published with permission from the author.

Dr. Nashater Deu Solheim wrote The Leadership PIN Code: Unlocking the Key to Willing and Winning Relationships to share a unique and proven framework for creating the impact and influence leaders need in their daily work. She shows three simple keys that leaders can use to get what they need from every interaction—while also maintaining positive relationships.

I recently sat down with Nashater to learn what inspired her to write the book, her favorite actionable idea that she shares with readers, and how that idea has impacted her life.


What happened that made you decide to write the book? What was the exact moment when you realized these ideas needed to get out there?

I remember my heart sinking as I sat and watched a group of leaders who’d worked so hard for several months on a case study that they’d been asked to prepare, which really was the final delivery of the leadership program they’d been working on for so long.

As a leadership development consultant, I sat in on the trial run of this presentation they’d be giving to a senior leadership group further down the line. As I listened, I was impressed by the content: it was high-quality, well thought out, and came with a range of solutions that I knew the senior leaders they’d be presenting to would appreciate and be able to implement.

What caused my heart to sink was the presentation itself. These talented, smart, and capable leaders all failed to deliver their content in a way that was engaging. They didn’t think through how to deliver their message, what to emphasize, or what visuals would work best. Many of them spoke in a monotone, fidgeted, or had what I call “concrete shoes.”

Ten minutes into the presentation, I wanted to get out of the room as quickly as possible and so did they. That’s how uncomfortable we all were during that presentation.

This was a light bulb moment for me. For leaders, it’s not just about the message. It’s about the delivery. You have to make sure that what you’re saying comes across clearly and engages your audience. You can’t be an influential leader if what you say doesn’t land with your audience.

In my work as a consultant and a coach, I started to focus on some of these core issues that leaders had when delivering presentations in a variety of arenas. It could be presenting at a conference, or just getting a message across to an employee or stakeholder.

Out of this coaching and consulting came the PIN concept, which later became this book.

Published with permission from the author.

What’s your favorite specific, actionable idea in the book?

My clients will tell me: it’s the seating arrangement suggestions. Funny enough, I’ve walked into rooms to meet with clients and seen the chairs arranged in exactly the way I’ve recommended, which is the V, or the 90-degree seating pattern for collaborative conversations.

Simply looking at how you sit, where you sit, and your body language makes a big impact. Clients tell me after a coaching session that it’s one of the first ideas they look to implement. I’ve heard the same thing after workshops and presentations—that it’s immediately usable.

What’s a story of how you’ve applied this lesson in your own life? What has this lesson done for you?

I’m often on stage as a speaker, presenter, or moderator during conferences. If you want to get your message across in that type of arena, you need to engage the audience and make sure you’re clear, coherent, and not getting lost in a sea of umms, ahhs, or bad body language.

Before I go on stage, I’ll rehearse the arena I’m going to be in: where I’m standing, who I’m speaking to, what kind of message I’m giving, and what type of body language I’m using to enhance my message. The day before the event, if possible, I’ll rehearse on stage. If it’s an interactive event, I’m paying attention to how the tables are arranged. Round tables are far better for engagement—with me and their peers—than auditorium-style seating in rows.

To learn more about being an influential leader, you can find The Leadership PIN Code: Unlocking the Key to Willing and Winning Relationships on Amazon.