- Entrepreneurs who have executive presence are more confident, more likeable, easier to trust.
- Executive presence isn’t something that can be assumed or faked.
- This article explains the essential points and skills that will help you achieve, build your confidence or drive an impactful executive presence.
Do people listen to you with attention when you speak?
Do they always consider your ideas? During meetings, conferences, and other business events, are people drawn to you? Executive presence is essential for small business owners, senior leaders, corporate executives, or startup owners. It’s a complex skill you can work on.
Understanding Executive Presence
Three things have a significant impact on executive presence:
- How you act
- What you say, and
- How you look.
These may seem obvious, but our brains tend to focus on the work that needs to be done, on project requirement, goals, and results.
Whether we are talking about a presentation, having a meeting with vendors or partners, or a quick chat on the corridor with some employees, it’s easy to focus on the work and forget all about executive presence.
The result? People won’t be as open to your ideas, nor will they feel motivated to give your company their best.
Individuals who have executive presence are more confident, more likeable, easier to trust.
We shouldn’t confuse executive presence with being bossy or domineering. It’s a powerful leadership quality that can make any person stand out in an inspiring way. The best part is that executive presence is a skill that you can improve.
1. Focus On Your Strengths, Not Weaknesses
Building on your strengths rather than hiding your weaknesses is one of the most effective ways to make your executive presence stronger.
Mature individuals can sometimes feel very conscious about their age in a workplace dominated by younger people. Or they may not feel wholly comfortable with the latest technology. If you happen to be one of them, focus instead on your strengths. — your experience, both in the corporate world and in life, your passion for your work, your expertise.
2. Use Your Breathing to Enter Confidence Mode
Before an important meeting, a serious discussion with staff, or any other demanding situation, pause for a moment and become aware of your breathing.
Research shows that breathing mindfully in and out, even for a few moments, can relax and prepare you for a critical moment.
This simple practice helps ease your mind and lower your heart rate. It has an immediate effect on your body, including on your posture.
3. Clarify Your Intention
Different business situations call for other intentions. While you may want to inspire or educate employees in a meeting with partners, corporate clients, or vendors, you may wish to persuade instead.
It is good to clearly understand what you want before every business interaction and build your whole presence around that.
From what you wear to how you speak and how much you say, all of these determine whether your executive presence will be strong or not.
4. Create a Strong Image
First impressions matter a great deal, and an entrepreneur’s life is filled with meetings that generate first impressions. You may meet with a significant customer, sales rep, or partner only for a few minutes, but it can be enough for them to like you.
As important as how you dress is your body language. More than 70% of interpersonal communications are non-verbal.
Whether you stand straight or not, cross your arms or legs, touch your nose as you speak, or rub the nape of your neck, you can send positive or negative cues. Delve more deeply into the fascinating field of body language to learn how to increase your executive presence.
Ultimately, the power and positive effect of your executive presence will be determined by the person you are, in and out of the office.
Link to executive presence on the website
Executive presence isn’t something that can be assumed or faked.
It’s a natural extension of a good character and a life well-lived. Every choice you make in life, the way you behave toward others, and your attitude to life help build your executive presence.
About the Author
Pamela Wigglesworth, CSP, is an international communication consultant, high-performance presentation coach, speaker, and CEO of Experiential. She helps clients establish their executive presence, structure a clear, concise message, and deliver their thoughts and ideas with style, confidence, and authority.