Kerry Washington--who plays Olivia Pope on the popular television show Scandal--recently outlined her personal, 5-step guide for how to be a power player. As it turns out, Washington doesn't just play a power player on TV, she's also a successful power player in real life--serving as a member of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities, and numerous other organizations that are making a real difference in people's lives.

Take a look at the list and see if you are doing all 5 of these things every day of the week. If not, then consider adding some of these recommendations to your own personal list of power plays.

1. Know thy audience

Says Washington, "Do your research. Figure out who you're talking to, especially if their way of thinking is not the same as yours." If you want to become a power player, then you've got to know who has the power, and how you can help them increase it. By helping power players achieve their goals, they will help you achieve your goals.

2. Be clear about your goals

As the Cheshire cat once told Alice in the book Alice in Wonderland, "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." While we all need goals, power players set their goals high, and then they put their full focus and energy on achieving them.

3. Dress the part

Power players make sure that others know they are power players--just by looking at them. Says Kerry Washington, "I dress differently when presenting at the MTV Movie Awards than when I'm speaking at the Democratic National Committee. You should too."

4. Remember to breathe

One of the best ways to get over any nervousness you may feel when meeting someone important, or getting ready to make a daring--and courageous--power move, is to stop and take a deep breath. When you take a deep breath, or two or three, you will feel more grounded and your nervousness will quickly evaporate.

5. Find the joy

Being a power player sometimes means that you'll have to tell others some unpleasant truths. You should never avoid being frank and honest, but the way you present your message can make all the difference. Suggests Washington, "Look for humor when making your point. It makes people feel less attacked. Don't be afraid to show your own vulnerability."

Published on: Mar 13, 2015
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