You’ve seen those who have a particular form about themselves; the way they dress, their attire is immaculate and perfect for their body type. They display a style of their own; consisting of confidence with a sense of where they are going, a sense of direction with no ifs, maybe or uncertainty. They are secure in themselves and their path of life; you notice their authoritative strut and poised way of speaking.
These individuals have a vision of their place, or what should be their place in business and in the professional world. They have a specific thing which the general public doesn’t quite know what to call it. What is this thing? This thing is the portraying of executive presence.
For the young and seasoned executive alike and those who seek such heights, there are established attributes looked upon as essential and are oftentimes determining factors in whether one is qualified for advancement.
How do you acquire and display executive presence? Here are my thoughts on the subject:
The professional is confident when speaking to large and small groups, as well as having one-on-one conversations. Whether delivering a conference keynote speech to a packed auditorium, a breakout session, or casually conversing with people in an outer hallway, confidence in what you say and how you say it is essential; it is related to self-assurance, and knowledge of the subject matter which comes from being well-read and a great listener via variety of sources – magazines, books, webinars, newsletters and personal contacts at conferences, and other special events.
In the same family of confidence is personal appearance. There’s an old saying you may have heard many times. I will repeat it here: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Attribution of the quote has been given to both Will Rogers and Oscar Wilde. Regardless who said it initially, know this – visual appearance is paramount for portraying executive presence; it should be an illustrated lifestyle. Why? Because any given day and month someone will, without fail, see you for the first time. Therefore, your appearance should be consistently appropriate and proper for the setting you’re in. Be mindful of your grooming, clothing selections, tailoring, neatness, and accessories.
Take into consideration your communication skills: giving instructions or responding to questions and statements. Initiating and receiving phone calls, and formal verbal presentations are foremost for having that thing called executive presence. Ask someone for feedback in the area of personal communication, written and oral. Consequently, be ready to make adjustments for improvement professionally and personally.
Be a visionary. In order to instill confidence in others, you must have a vision and communicate that vision in a dynamic, vibrant, positive way. Make your mark with a compelling and coherent vision. It differentiates you in a powerful way. Take time to lay out the steps that lead to your ultimate visionary goal.
Life affords us the opportunity to deal with stressful situations. Do you sometimes appear rushed, overwhelmed, flustered, at wit’s end, about to lose it? Individuals with executive presence do not allow these negative emotions and thoughts to control them. You want to present yourself as composed, calm, in control, and well-prepared perpetually. What does this do? It stimulates confidence in others toward you and gives them the motivation to follow you. Also, it sends a message to your superiors that you are responsible, has self-control, can handle stressful situations, and ready for more challenges.
Let’s a go a little deeper into the subject of executive presence: it’s about your mindset and how you come across regarding your belief system – belief in your abilities and that of others you wish to inspire. Along the way, cultivate current professional relationships and set your sights on someone who has been there and can provide a mutually meaningful mentor/mentee relationship. This person will help formulate ideas for you to consider and implement (mindset), give guidance, and give a sense of direction.
We’re not born with the thing called executive presence. It can be self-taught, and taught by others; if you want it and are willing to make an effort and invest time, you will be noticed and applauded as having charisma, and grace under pressure. Is it worth it? My answer is a definite yes. By acquiring ep (executive presence), you are on the fast track upward to the next level. Enjoy the journey.