Executive Presence manifests in this feeling you get – or do not get! – when a person enters a room. Instantly you get a sense if he or she has the capabilities of a leader. Call it charisma or executive presence, some people have it, some don’t.
Really? Is Executive Presence something you need to be born with?
Often highly skilled professionals are unable to advance in their career, because the perception of key stakeholders is: “Yeah, he/she is great, but I am afraid he/she just does not have what it takes to be a leader.”
The good news is executive presence is neither magic nor something only a few selected are born with. It may come more naturally to some, but basically executive presence is merely a set of certain behaviors. And behavior can be learned.
Top 7 Tips for More Executive Presence:
1. Simply Be Present
Emphasize the presence in executive presence. Be in the here and now. Whether the argument from an hour before is still on your mind or whether you are occasionally checking your watch, others will notice it. Thinking of what was before or will be next does not help those who need your presence now.
2. Make Others Matter
People with great executive presence make other people feel important. In a 1:1 conversation during a larger event, make the other person feel the most important in the room. In your daily work, turn your team members into heroes.
3. Listen More, Speak Less
Interestingly executive presence is more about hearing others than making yourself heard. People like to be heard, and a leader cares for the ideas and concerns of others in the organization.
4. Focus on Your Intent
Ask yourself regularly “what’s my intent here?” This will help you focus on your long-term objective and reduce ego-driven outcomes such as wanting to prove others wrong (which is usually not appreciated).
5. Use Body Language Effectively
Executive Presence includes walking and sitting straight, chest up, head level, and shoulders straight. Keep eye contact without staring people down. Express calm without appearing overly relaxed.
6. Watch Your Words
More than what you say, how you say is crucial to executive presence. Speak clearly and loud enough so people in the back row can hear you well without you shouting at anyone. Speak s l o w l y without losing your audience’s attention. Vary pitch and tonality. Don’t be afraid of silence and use pauses effectively. Pauses may make more impact than words do. Be concise, straight to point, don’t use more words than necessary. Avoid uhms, ahs and other useless fillers.
7. Exhibit Confidence
Executive presence is strongly attributed to confidence, and confidence is shown best on the outside by feeling confident in the inside. Confidence comes from knowing yourself, and your strengths, being aware of your weaknesses and how to deal with them. And probably most important, confidence stems from knowing that whatever will happen, you will be able to deal with it.
8. Dress for Success
A suit does not make you a better leader, but people do judge a book by its cover, like it or not. Think of the impression you want to evoke and dress accordingly. You don’t need expensive designer clothes or become a fashion guru to make an impact. But people do recognize and appreciate a good taste paired with a style that matches your position.
Keep practicing one step at a time and trust that practice makes perfect.
Would you like to improve your executive presence to create the impact you desire? Then contact me now for a personal consultation:
phone: +66-2 107 2025