Executive presence is that intangible “it factor” leaders bring to the table. It’s all about projecting confidence, credibility and charisma. When leaders have that magnetic presence, it captivates, inspires trust, and sets the stage for effective collaboration and success.
Many people think executive presence looks like the highest ranking, loudest or most knowledgeable person in the room, commanding everyone’s attention.
In reality, leaders with executive presence are the wise and reliable counselors who provide valuable input, making people sit up and take notice. So, don’t be intimidated by the word “executive.” Anyone at any stage of their career can hone their leadership skills and inspire confidence from others.
Let’s break down the key elements of someone with executive presence and how you can harness your own power toward success.
Authenticity is key to building trust, confidence and collaboration with others. A performative personality, besides being exhausting, can quickly undermine credibility and enthusiasm.
Participate fully and show true acceptance for yourself and others. This will naturally engage those around you and inspire them to follow your lead.
It’s more important to clearly communicate information than it is to simply know it. To connect and engage with your audience, consider their point of view. Tailor your communication styles for CEOs, colleagues and clients. Remember, most CEOs don’t like the identification of problems without proposed solutions.
Start strong and get everyone on board by starting with the “why” instead of the “what.” Keep your messaging concise and memorable with plain language.
The best communicators are active listeners who:
- Make good eye contact
- Read non-verbal cues
- Avoid interrupting and making judgements
- Stay focused and present and don’t plan out their responses in advance
- Ask thoughtful follow-up questions that paraphrase the other person’s thoughts
Be confident and mind the gap
We often underestimate how much people actually like us after a first impression. This difference between our assumptions of ourselves and how others truly see us has been coined the “liking gap” by researchers.
While our unfair opinions of ourselves may just be in our heads, the negative effects on our self-esteem and how well we work with others can have real consequences.
Try these simple tricks to bridge this gap and boost your confidence: Stand tall, make eye contact, smile and be natural. Embrace silence and practice humble listening and communication. Remember, true confidence doesn’t mean being loud.
Being a decisive action-taker doesn’t mean you have all the answers. Instead, be prepared with the right questions and summarize the main points and next steps. The important thing is to keep moving forward with confidence and conviction.
Be steady under pressure
A true leader with executive presence exudes calmness, composure and control. They’re the calm amidst the chaos.
Being frantically busy doesn’t showcase your value — it just shows you’re overwhelmed and not prepared for more. Don’t just be busy; be effective. You’ll inspire confidence and trust by keeping a level head and proving to others you’re ready for anything.
It’s a journey
Developing an executive presence is an ongoing process. Every interaction is an opportunity to make a lasting impression.
Remember, executive presence is about being genuine, approachable and reliable. By embracing authenticity, honing your communication skills, being confident, acting decisively and remaining calm under pressure, you’ll inspire confidence in yourself and others.