When we talk about executive presence we must consider that it’s not a born trait and instead it is a skill to be developed, cultivated and built. That’s the reason why we always heard that:
“Great Leaders aren’t born, they’re made!”
Executive Presence is made of how much confidence and inspiration you give to the ones around you (peers, team, managers, executives and others), while creating an image of leadership, competence and trustworthiness.
The essential elements that will build Executive Presence are:
- Gravitas – How You Act
- Communication – How You Speak
- Appearance – How You Look
Executive presence will give confidence and inspiration to others and will increase the chances of reaching new opportunities and influence decisions that you are part of.
Imagine yourself trying to close a deal with a client, even if you have the same product and price as competitors, the only thing that will matter at this time will be the way handled the negotiation from start to end, in that case your Executive Presence will become the predominant element for success.
Key Points for Executive Presence
Be Prepared. Always be prepared for any kind of situation, even if it’s a business lunch, an elevator speech or a unexpected presentation, that’s why you need to be always aware of what’s happening, knowing the status, problems and solutions.
Clear Communication. Have the ability to transmit your ideas in a very clear way to others.
Believe in yourself and have confidence. If you don’t believe in yourself who else will do?
Look at you! Understand how people perceive the way you are and especially how you treat others around you.
Decisiveness. The courage, confidence and way to take decisions and taking ownership of its risks and consequences.
Listen.Being a great listener you’ll be able to ask the right questions and explore new ideas.
Build Relationships. Understand the company culture, its people, the way things work, start building relationships with everyone. A strong leader must be supported by a strong network of relationships.
Be Comfortable Being Uncomfortable. Under stressful situations keep your cool to think in ways to solve the problem. Being desperate and overwhelmed will not help, instead you’ll lose confidence from others because nobody wants to see their own leader out of control.
Emotional Intelligence. Specially empathy.
Integrity and Ethics. Always believe and apply the right values.
Appearance. Your appearance must not be a distraction, understand the context of every situation and also check the way people dress or take care of their own style. Always try to find balance to fit in.
Remember, there’s no receipt to build an Executive Presence, it will depends on the environment and culture you are in, and everything will be applied based on your personal traits, values, past experiences and perception of life.