So, executive presence is not innate. While many factors are vague – who can truly define charisma? – there are some concrete factors involved as well…
Executive presence really distills to who you are and how you present yourself to the world.
Here, we will cover ways you can build and increase your own executive presence. With practice, anyone can develop an executive presence.
Start working on it now because as you climb the ladder you are going to have to rely on your executive presence more and more. This is a skill that must be continually improved, refined and mastered as you advance through your career.
Now, here are some valuable steps you can take in order to build and increase your executive presence…
Communication Is Key
We’ve said this repeatedly and for good reason. When it comes down to it, a leader is only as effective as their communication skills. To have executive presence, you must be a skilled communicator, period.
Make sure you are able to communicate well in any situation and across all mediums: virtual platforms, through written communication and in person.
Make sure you are articulate. Choose your words carefully. Trust in the pause. While silence can be awkward, use it to your benefit, assessing how your audience is interpreting your message.
Know Your Worth
In our self-assessment, we made it clear that those with executive presence know what they bring to the table. Now, there’s a fine line between confident and cocky so tread carefully but never doubt your value. You bring much to the table with your individual perceptions and experiences. Go in to situations with this mindset and you are golden.
Listening Is Half The Battle
Communication is about so much more than talking. The other half of being an effective communicator is making sure you take the time to listen to others.
People who listen to others and make them feel valued tend to have excellent executive presence.
Engage with the person you are speaking with, listen to their viewpoints, ask questions and explore new ideas. When you listen, you also demonstrate to others that you don’t have to be the center of attention which in turn shows self-confidence.
Clearly Explain Your Vision
If you are a leader, you likely have a vision for where you are guiding your team. Make sure you know what you are trying to accomplish and then work on conveying that message to your team. Be sure you can explain it succinctly in any situation. Your lengthy boardroom message will not be well received at the dinner table but your vision still needs to hit its mark.
Build Your Network, And Your Reputation
Having executive presence when you walk in the room is great, having senior staff know who you are before you step off the elevator is even better.
Be sure to take time carefully cultivating your network. Corporate politics are neither good nor bad and people who possess executive presence are adept at building beneficial relationships. As you build your network, your reputation will begin to grow as well.
First Impressions Matter
Whether you like it or not, the way you present yourself to the world matters a great deal. An unkempt suit and messy hair do not say “follow me”.
You don’t need to try to be something you’re not, but neatness does matter.
Try to conform to company standards, ensuring your clothing fits and that your personal grooming is taken care of. You want the reputation you build to be based on your skills and attributes not your lack of personal hygiene.
There is a common thread that runs through everything pertaining to executive presence…and that is YOU.
To effectively lead, you must rely on your skills, character, substance, and style.
Find who you are and be authentic to yourself.
No matter what the culture of the company is and what their values are, you are the best thing you can bring to the table.