September 17, 2020
❝ Executive presence is credibility that goes beyond a title ❞ - Tom Henshel
What is Executive Presence?
When you walk into a meeting room who do you get drawn to? When you attend conferences, which speaker stands out from the rest? When at corporate parties, who sets the ball rolling?
Admiring someone or the desire to be like them is a mechanism of the sub-conscious mind. People are usually unaware of why they feel in a particular way for someone because these judgements happen at the subconscious level.
Well, if now you are thinking that some people are born with charisma, it may be untrue. Because everyone you look upto in the meeting rooms, at conferences or parties, have put in conscious efforts to make you feel that way at the sub-conscious level.
This is executive presence! The mindfulness, awareness, and conscious efforts to build an aura of poise and grace, to create appropriate perceptions, and feel the gravitas from within.
Why is Executive Presence important?
Your executive presence will determine if you will receive the opportunity to display your functional skills. Because even after you leave the room, your executive presence stays. And all major decisions, starting from your promotion, a critical assignment, handling a big project or growth decisions take place when you are not in the room. The possibility of your access to these major opportunities will be based on the confidence you rouse in the minds of the decision makers.
Remember, the importance of executive presence increase with the increase in the critical nature of the opportunity. The stronger your executive presence, the better chances you have of fulfilling your aspirations.
How to create Executive Presence?
- Examine yourself: The first step to executive presence is self-awareness. Identify your unique skills, your strengths, your gifts and the value you can add to the lives of people you meet. In every opportunity of interaction, make sure you add value.
- Examine your confidence level: Confidence and executive presence is a complimentary pair. Stand out with a tone full of confidence. Avoid disclaimers like ‘You may not agree with this but…’ or ‘this may be irrelevant but…’. These disclaimers mean that you are unsure about what you are going to say and hence at a subconscious level, you may end up losing credibility.
- Examine the culture: Observe how others command positive attention in a room. Notice how they present themselves, behave, communicate and engage with the people around.
- Examine the people: Like you gravitate towards some people and run away from others, people around you will have similar options with respect to you. Make sure that you create a positive image with each action, from your walk to your talk.
- Examine the environment: Do your research before you enter an unknown environment. Learn what is acceptable and appropriate, from your dress to your personality. Going overboard, may show desperation to fit in. Whilelaying low, you risk being unnoticed.
- Carry your weapon: You may have noticed that everyone likes people who listen to them and understands them. Become a good listener by being present in the moment, understanding their needs, and relating to their situation. In short, empathetic listening is the key!
- Feel the gravitas from within:
A strong executive presence has to be right balance between being confident to command the attention without being arrogant and giving attention to others, emboldening them to move forward.