Executive Presence: What Is It and How Can I Build It?
Have you ever been in a meeting where an executive with genuine leadership skills walks into the room? The atmosphere changes subtly. Smiles are broad, voices quiet as backs straighten and the anticipation grows. The result is less about the title and more about characteristics that others think this executive. In the world of business, they are often grouped into the umbrella of “executive present,” and even though we are unsure of what it is, however, we can all recognize the signs.
Most people believe that you’re a naturally-born leader, capable of triggering that reaction in other people, or perhaps you’re not. People with a strong executive presence, however, know that this “soft talent” isn’t a matter of character. People with executive presence are aware of the necessity of developing and showing their leadership abilities that they can be seen by ALL. In order for executive presence to be effective is, to make it apparent to people who do not work with you every day that you’ve got a genuine presence. What are the characteristics that we’re talking about when talking about “executive presence,” and how can we improve and show these qualities at work regardless of the title? Take these suggestions into consideration when you are establishing your executive presence at work:
Leaders should be individuals who are confident. However, it’s the way they show their confidence that counts the most. Many executives have tremendous confidence in their opinions but are making mistakes! The executives who are genuinely influential demonstrate confidence, not by insisting that they are correct, but instead by asking for opinions and perspectives of other people and clearly appreciating the opinions of others, regardless of the outcome. A person who is able to look at another person in the eye and say, “I’d really like to have your opinions regarding this” is a trait that everyone can admire. Confidence doesn’t mean being able to answer all questions. The key is knowing the best way you can get them. If you’re a person who isn’t confident confidence, use all the tools you have to improve that. Make yourself the first person to attend the gathering and allow yourself the chance to get settled. Plan out the way you’ll present yourself and prepare yourself for speaking up.
Anyone who exhibits the qualities of an executive is someone who anyone can appreciate. Clear communication isn’t all about “dumbing the message down.” It’s about elevating your communication to ensure that ALL will be able to understand and feel motivated. Leaders are those with an ability to make complex concepts understandable and communicate in a manner they are confident will be a hit with their audience. Persuasiveness isn’t just about citing the same list of facts or figures until you’ve got your audience’s bottom or to show your ability to be innovative. It’s about adjusting your message specifically to the information you have about your target audience, their preferences and preferences, and the best method to get them to the conclusion. Consider: “I know what you are interested in” instead of “Here’s the things you must do” You can assist others to reach their goals by helping an employee who is struggling: “So let me understand your position. You’d like us to go forward, while we’re working on the issue so that we will not fall in the sand?”
There’s a reason for you to speak to people. When you’re in a meeting or in a briefing to the boss or engaging with clients or colleagues, they will form an opinion about you and your capabilities. No matter what reputation you’ve earned or the accomplishments you’ve made on your list of accomplishments, people are likely to form their own opinions about your character. We all have a great degree of faith in our abilities to form opinions through our interactions, regardless of how insignificant or nebulous. If you want to make others think you’re a leader with capability, someone to listen to, be true to yourself. Let people know who you indeed have been and the things you’re able to do instead of trying to conform to what you believe others would like to be able to see. The people who have real executive presence have a genuine personality and display that they are. Consider: “This is how I’d like to arrive there” instead of “What do I have to do in order to get there?”
Keep in mind that executive presence is a factor in a myriad of leadership skills, not just the fact that you’re currently holding an executive title. Get rid of the obstacles that hinder people from recognizing your leadership potential. Let them know that you are one.