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Topic 4, Lesson 4
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Gravitas is one of those words used a lot in the business world, but what does it actually mean?

In short, gravitas is the ability to command respect and influence others. This means having the ability to project confidence and authority in your work. It’s about having an inner belief in your abilities and being able to communicate this to others, without coming across as arrogant.

Gravitas is a vital requirement for finance professionals across all grades, not just those within leadership positions. If you’re presenting a report to senior management or communicating to a lender, you need to come across as confident and in control.

Without gravitas, you may find it difficult to be taken seriously by your peers, superiors and stakeholders.

A CFO’s perspective

During the following video, experienced CFO Paul Marchant shares insights on what people mean by displaying strong gravitas, how to recognise it and ways to improve how you come across to others:

Developing your gravitas

Here are some popular ways to develop strong gravitas and become a more respected member of your finance team:

Believe in yourself

This is the first and most important step. If you don’t believe in your own abilities, it’ll be difficult to convince others. So have faith in yourself and your skillset.

Be prepared

Make sure you have all the facts and figures at your fingertips, and that you understand the financial information inside out. This will demonstrate that you’re knowledgeable and credible.

Be clear and concise in your communication

Don’t beat around the bush – get to the point quickly and effectively. This will show that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re confident in your abilities.

Stay calm under pressure

If things go wrong, don’t panic – instead, take a step back, assess the situation and come up with a solution. This will show that you’re able to think on your feet and stay calm under pressure, both essential qualities in any finance professional.

Observe yourself

Spend time observing yourself in different scenarios to identify how you act and react to difficult situations.  Identify your role models to benchmark their key characteristics and behaviour traits against your own tendencies.  But remember to be yourself and not try to clone other people.


Developing strong gravitas is an essential requirement for all successful finance professionals. It takes time to develop, so be patient and keep working hard.

With enough perseverance, you’ll soon have the gravitas you need to command the respect of others and take your career to the next level.