Key Elements To Develop A Strong Executive Presence
April 13, 2022
“How you act (gravitas), how you speak (communication), and how you look (appearance) count for a lot in determining your leadership presence.”
Remember this famous quote by Sylvia Ann Hewlett? This goes well with “Executive Presence,” the most demanding skill in today’s business leaders.
This term takes center stage when we talk about leadership. How should leaders act? How should they look, communicate and demonstrate grace?
In this discussion, I am going to break down the science behind executive presence.
We will talk about;
- What is executive presence?
- What are its elements?
- How can you develop a strong & authentic presence?
We will also discuss significant pieces of executive presence, such as confidence, emotional intelligence, and more.
Without further ado, let’s head to learn executive presence.
Breaking Down The Executive Presence
Executive presence, what exactly is it?
Do you think it comes from experience? Or is it just about clothing and your appearance in the office? If yes, you have taken it wrong all this time.
In the simplest of terms, executive presence is a perception. It is the perception of your upper management team, colleagues, and customers on how you show up. It won’t be wrong to say, it is a collective perception of how they see you as a leader. Or, as an influencer.
Let’s make it simple. Think about the last time you spoke in public or to a group. Now, think about that one word your audience is most likely to use to describe you.
Is it confident? Is it boring? Is it aggressive? Asking these questions will help you better understand the executive presence and what you are missing from it.
Do You Have An Executive Presence?
Are you delivering your thoughts to your audience clearly? Do you show up as confident, assertive, and decisive? If not, you might lack the skill we are talking about here today.
Now, it is clear that executive presence is essential for influencing others. I believe that having a powerful (effective, assertive, and influential) appearance, communication and behaviour is what helps you score this.
It is important to recognise how you’re presenting yourself. Why? Because you will share the table with other senior executives at some point. You will see them walking into the room and winning it like it was always theirs.
Over the last many years, I have learned that one can have more control of their executive presence than anyone else. Some people have it naturally, though. But, I have seen it, with most of my coaching clients, that “executive presence is something that we can build, develop and grow.” You just need to tap into the right areas!
Below are some of my tested & proven strategies to develop executive presence fast in any scenario.
Proven Strategies To Develop Executive Presence Fast
Executive presence has been thrown around aloud for a long time. We hear it every time on the internet and in offices where the pressure to develop executive presence is real. But, can it be taught or learned? Well, the answer is yes…
In this post, I will share five practically proven tips on developing executive presence fast. First, let’s clarify our thoughts on the three main pillars of executive presence.
- Communication Skills
In this, where appearance and communication are common terms, gravitas seems a big chunk!
Well, gravitas simply means, “how do you make people feel in your presence?” How long do you take to make tough decisions and stick with them?
How do you sound when communicating with others? Do you sound confident? Do you convey the message and get the results you want? If that’s the case, here are the five easy tips for developing executive presence and commanding the room at work.
Speak With Authority
This comes when you master your communication skills, which form a major role in building overall executive presence. It is about speaking to hold command over others in the room. Speak to clear their doubts. Speak to be able to persuade and influence them. This is about how to connect to your audience. Are you wondering how to do it? Here you go.
Quick Tips To Communicate With Authority
- Use firm voice
This simply means keeping your voice strong, usually a bit deeper as you speak from your diaphragm. Remember, you’ve to be firm but polite.
- Use pauses and silence to engage
Once you convey your message, take a pause, allow the audience/listener to take in the message and make the connection.
- Maintain a speed and tone
“I Don’t Know” is a simple phrase that can be taken in many different ways, depending on your tone of voice. Keep a natural and consistent voice tone.
Connect To Build Trust
Trust is the foundation of effective communication. When your audience trusts you, they are likely to be influenced by everything you say. Trust can be earned or built, but it happens in the very first moments. Here is an easy way to do so.
Quick Tips To Build Trust
- Be a good listener
Two-communication is the right form of any discussion. To be a communicator, you need to be a good listener, which initially starts with making eye contact and listening uninterruptedly and without judging.
- Show appreciation every day
You literally don’t need to throw a big party to appreciate someone. Just listen to them empathetically and recognise their efforts. This is enough to make someone’s day!
- Be honest and honour your commitments
Honesty is the best policy and foundation of trust in any relationship. When people start trusting in you, they also start believing in your commitment and promises.
Present With Poise
Presenting yourself is how you act. But when we say present with poise, what is poise? It is about having the presence of mind and self-control. How you project self-confidence and elegance is how you act. When you first meet your colleagues or team, they will quickly make judgments about you. So, if you want to build a strong executive presence, you should have a polished image.
Quick Tips To Cultivate Your Image
- Dress & Groom Well
Remember, whatever you wear reflects the real you. In corporate grooming, it primarily focuses on your haircut, dressing and overall appearance. It is advised to dress one level up to demonstrate commitment and readiness for serious challenges.
- Learn Basic Manners and Etiquette
When presenting yourself with poise, you simply need to stand tall with confidence, greet with a gentle and warm smile, and be mindful of your behaviour.
- Maintain A Good Body Posture
How you hold your body, also called body language, matters the most. Good body posture - shoulders wide apart and standing tall indicates that you are confident and respect your audience.
Are You Ready To See The Better You? We Can Help
How would you imagine yourself as a leader? What skills are you going to have? You first have to believe that you can have that executive identity. Because if you don’t have that belief, no one else would. We achieve what we believe. Right? But how to learn these skills?
Are you ready to master your communication skills? This is where I can help you! I am going to guide you about how to communicate. How to deliver your thoughts? And, I am also going to help you with your appearance – how you look and how you act under difficult situations, establish trust and credibility, develop interpersonal skills, demonstrate emotional intelligence and empathy and much more.
If you are ready to transform your communication skills and become the leader you always wanted to be, book a consultation with me.