How To Create an Impactful Boardroom Presence?
September 21, 2021
“To be noticed without striving to be noticed, this is what elegance is about.” – Luciano Barbera
Try to recall a recent meeting, when a person there just seemed to attract and engage everyone around the table with their charisma. A person who had the ability to walk into a boardroom, draw attention, which left everybody keen and wanting more. In the corporate world, this is called executive presence.
What is Executive Presence?
Executive presence allows you to create your brand. And everyone knowingly or unknowingly develops a brand. It environs the holistic approach you take in presenting yourself to others in the boardroom. This includes the way you speak, how you dress, and how you generally behave. While you’re consistently communicating to others, it shows who you really are. And it is mostly comprised of a proper balance of the following attributes.
Executive presence is also about your ability to inspire confidence among peers and seniors that you’re the leader they want to follow, that you’re capable, reliable and most importantly you have the potential for great achievements.
“Leaders are made, not born”
While it may seem like some people are just born with it, executive presence is something that they’ve worked very hard to achieve. There is no leadership gene; leaders are made, not born. You can achieve it, too with undeniably high performance, knowledge, soft skills, emotional intelligence, grace, and ambition, which is a much-needed additive mix to the executive presence. It is a combination of the ability to influence with command, often referred to as gravitas in the parlance, along with polished, poised communication and engagement skills.
Why is Executive Presence important?
Your executive presence opens doors to opportunities. A saying in leadership goes by, “All the important decisions about you will be made when you’re not in the room.” Hence, it’s true because a decision about an important opportunity is made when you’re not in the room. And gaining access to these opportunities depends on the confidence you’ve inspired in the board room on decision-makers. That’s why it is needed for you to get the job, win a promotion, close a deal, or inspire change.
If you have a good executive presence, your employer is confident to have you represent the organization in front of senior executives and important clients.The following attributes, skills, traits, and attitudes put you on the path to an impressive executive presence that increases your reliability and growth. The “pass on” value can also increase the influence and promotability of those you coach
How to develop executive presence?
Executive presence isn’t just about what others think of you. It also starts with what you think of yourself; the way you look, speak and act. So, before you head to that next meeting, remember few things that would help you in developing your executive presence:
The way you look
It is said that “a man is known by his dress and address”. Wearing the right attire will help you make a mark of your own. The way you look doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to wear flaunting designer business suits when you go to work. But rather, whatever you wear should enhance people’s view of you as a polished and qualified professional.
Dressing formally makes you feel confident and helps you create the right professional image.Do not wear loud colours to work, instead wear neutral and subtle colours. Your clothes should be clean, ironed,and wrinkle-free. Shoes should be polished. Prefer dark leather shoes, mostly black or brown.
Men should neatly comb their hair for a professional look. Females should avoid too much make-up and those with long hair can neatly tie their hair into a bun or a high ponytail.
Price and brand have nothing to do with “smart dressing”. No one is going to ask you to show the brand/price on the label. So, ensure that whatever you wear suits your personality and looks good on you. You need to feel comfortable in your corporate attire.
The way you speak
- Learn to be assertive
Being assertive is an important communication skill. It helps you to talk effectively and stand up for your own point of view, while also respecting the rights and beliefs of others. When you’re assertive, it shows how much you respect yourself that you're willing to stand up for your feelings and thoughts, without being arrogant.
- Be clear and concise in your communication
As Albert Einstein said, “The definition of genius is taking the complex and making it simple.” Communication is an art. And delivering clear and concise communication is a common challenge many people face. It is difficult because executives have a lot of information to convey in a very limited time.But important decisions are made usually in a very short period and limited attention span. Therefore, you have to get your point and facts across swiftly and efficiently.
- Take a feedback
Communication is the core of effective leadership. But you must know that communication is an ongoing process, which means giving and receiving feedback. Hence when feedback is received regularly, engagement rises, productivity increases, and organizations become more closely aligned with the values that make them unique.
The way you act
- Emotional intelligence
People with Executive Presence are distinguished by exceptional mental and emotional balance. They are capable of being sensitive to other’s emotions. The basic components of executive presence are emotional self-awareness and understanding others.
You must be aware of your own emotions and not get carried away by them, along with recognizing other’s emotions and managing your response to them.Therefore, emotional intelligence will lead you to a strong executive presence, which can be developed easily.
- Take ownership
“To own” gives you the meaning of what you commit to as an executive. Being an executive, you need to develop a higher awareness of our impact and ability to inspire action. You need to be confident and willing to take a leap of faith in yourself. You are expected to own your vision, have an opinion, and to go on record. Taking a stand is the willingness to take the risk, to stand out, and to raise your voice for change. Always own your leadership presence and take responsibility.
- Be authentic
Authenticity in Executive presence is about being aligned in your expression of your values, communication, commitments, and who you really are. There should be an alignment of your thoughts, words and actions. When you’re real, you are able to better connect with people and that’s when people start to look at you as mentor. You may then be described as a reliable, authentic, and trustworthy in an organization.
Executive Presence is a skill worth learning if you want to become a successful leader. And you can acquire it easily with your conscious effort and practice.
It is an integral part of leadership and as you begin to develop and build your Presence, you start to inspire people. And while you inspire them, you come in the zone of being able to mentor and coach other people to help them bring out their best. Executive Presence will help you increase performance of your team, enhance productivity, help you create a friendly and harmonious workplace environment, where there is growth, learning, and mutual respect.