What is Executive Presence?
Have you ever walked into a room full of people and felt immediately drawn to a person who is extremely engaging and genuine, intelligent and articulate, confident and positive?
Often referred to as the "it" factor, Executive Presence (EP) is the sum of all these qualities. Some say it's hard to define but you know it when you see it.
A person with Executive Presence:
- Exudes self-confidence
- Has high Emotional Intelligence
- Stays composed and in control under pressure
- Is influential and holds her/his own with other leaders
- Makes tough decisions in timely manner
- Has excellent speaking and listening skills
- Has deep business acumen
- Excels at establishing and maintaining relationships
- Has a polished, professional appearance
- Operates with an optimistic mindset open to opportunities and solutions
A study done by Center for Talent Innovation surveyed 268 senior executives on the importance of having EP. Results showed that EP counts for 26% of what it takes to get promoted.
Can EP be developed?
The answer is "yes" according to John Beeson of Beeson Consulting. He says you can develop EP " if you have a baseline of self-confidence and willingness to deal with unpredictable situations that go with the territory at the executive level."
Teri Citterman, author of "From the CEO's Perspective" says: "EP is how you manage your assertiveness and diplomacy in professional situations. It's a skill that can be learned and starts with an understanding of your confidence level. It requires intention and practice."
How to develop EP
- Get honest feedback on your level of confidence from 2-3 trusted people. Then take their feedback and make improvements where necessary.
- Hone your presentation skills - consider joining Toastmasters
- Identify your talents and abilities and leverage them
- Manage what you say and how you say it
- Utilize Emotional Intelligence
- Dress the part of the executive
- Seek out a coach or mentor to assist you
Know that EP looks different from one person to another. There is no one-size-fits-all. Use that knowledge to develop your own personalized EP.
Commit to cultivating your EP, beginning today. With practice and mindful awareness, you can improve how you present yourself to others so they see you as the leader you strive to be.