How To Make Your Executive Presence Stand Out

These days ‘executive presence’ seems to be a catch all term when in reality it can mean different things to different people. From my perspective and experience, executive presence is a person's ability to project gravitas and confidence, poise under pressure and decisiveness. It is also the ability to communicate with ease and  adapt to any audience or situation.  If you're feeling stalled in your career, working on your executive presence could give you a boost. Here are 7 steps to help you do that.

Make a Connection: The best way to connect is to communicate with others. Learning how to read and adapt to different communication styles is a major advantage for those who want to exude executive presence. Remember to:

  1. Be gracious and welcoming 
  2. Use the person's name, smile and make eye contact...
  3. Have open body language...
  4. Think and speak strategically and don't underestimate the value of  small talk...
  5. Be visible and be accessible ...
  6. Ask questions...
  7. Keep the conversation positive...

Practice Composure: Calmness is the foundation of presence. You can practice breath-awareness as a barometer to quell any anxiety and either speed up or slow down your rate of speech accordingly. You should also be adept at handling interruptions. 

Develop Your Charisma: Charisma is a compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire attention and devotion in others. Using your body language to emphasize and enhance how you feel or what you're talking about can go a long way. Standing stiff as a board is not magnetic or interesting. 

Appear Confident: One key aspect of executive presence is the ability to communicate confidence both in what you say and how you say it. To appear confident, good posture and eye contact are critical. Ensure your facial expression matches your message and that your voice has good pitch, volume, and pace. 

Be Credible: Not only is your content important, but the language you choose to deliver your message will impact your credibility. Saying fillers like  “um,” “uh,” and “so” will immediately detract from presence.  When someone with strong presence speaks, others take note, and there is no doubt of the conviction behind their words.

Speak Clearly: In order to exude executive presence, your ability to clearly communicate is fundamental. If your point is unclear, any hope of commanding attention is lost. Ask yourself, “What is my message in 10 words or fewer?” If you can’t articulate it to yourself you are not ready to communicate it to others.

Be Polished, Poised and Prepared: A person with good executive presence never let's people see them sweat. They don't get flustered when they speak and they seem like the type of person who would show up in the middle of a crisis looking put together and in control. 

Executive presence is a learned skill and it is totally within your reach. I’ve seen many people develop their executive presence with a little personal reflection, practice and coaching. If you want to improve your executive presence contact Jennifer Grant International, we are here to help.

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