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Executive Presence – What is it and how do you get it?

Date: February 7, 2019

Communication Leadership Executive Communications Coaching

In organizations across the world the phrase “executive presence” has come to be known as that extra something that makes you an inspiring leader and can take you to the top of your company. Without it, you can be lost in the middle manager ranks for decades.

Executive presence is not a technique or a style that you implement or mimic. It is something you gain through experience, self-awareness, true confidence and authenticity as a leader.

Unfortunately, you can never shorten the road that leads to experience. You must have a well-rounded view of your business and industry mostly gained through day to day, hands-on managing. As you are gaining that experience, you can also work on your communication skills which are the gauge by which senior management measures your level of executive presence. Your insight, understanding, and ability to articulate your views in an objective, measured, focused manner are important as we have just learned.

In addition, your YOU Factors also play a major role. What you say and how you say it (verbal and non-verbal) are packaged together and create the whole perception. This familiar phrase states it best, PERCEPTION IS REALITY. The best plan, cutting edge idea, and most expertly crafted presentation will fall flat when delivered without energy, conviction, connection, and confidence. In most cases, the human qualities of you the leader have a more lasting impact than the words of the message. When you are viewed as competent, credible, and objective you are considered a well-rounded leader. If you communicate at times with bravado, anger, impatience, emotion or disdain, you will begin to develop a perception as a “difficult” person. No matter how competent you are, this perception will begin to dominate your net impression.

To establish credibility as well as objectivity you must find the connection to what everyone is working toward. You must demonstrate that you are not so entrenched and enamored with your own ideas that you cannot see the greater strategic objective for the organization. Trust and credibility are critical factors in establishing an executive presence. Trust and credibility are difficult to gain, and once lost almost impossible to rebuild.