Do You Have Executive Presence?

Everyone has his or her own ideas about what executive presence looks and sounds like. Regardless of what someone’s personal definition may be, let’s look at three areas that can affect whether others consider you to be executive material:

1. Strategic focus

I constantly hear senior leaders noticing the difference between people who think strategically and those who focus more on tactics. Your ability to consistently tie what you say and do to what matters to the business can help others see that you “get it” – that you understand the big picture and won’t get derailed by details. Ask yourself how often you intentionally make these connections for others.

2. Confidence

I’m sure you’ve come across people who can be very convincing even when they are way beyond their scope of expertise. Remember that it is often less about what they say and more about how they say it. Think about yourself for a minute. How often does your tone convey a strong sense of conviction, high energy, or confidence? How does your body language add to or detract from your message? Nuances like this can make a big difference.

3. Competence

Your ability to integrate your life experiences into your message can quickly help others understand what you bring to the table – and why it matters. Integrating short contextual phrases helps others understand your strengths and skills and their relevance to the business. Take this brief example: “I learned three key principles from my experience marketing global products and brands. One of those applies to this situation today.”

At the end of the day, you may believe that you are strategically focused, confident, and competent. But the question is whether others see you that way. So, this week I urge you to take one small step, whether it’s asking others for feedback or focusing on one of the three areas above. I have found that starting with tweaks to how and what you communicate can dramatically affect your executive presence. Remember, small steps can lead to big results.


© 2013 Neena Newberry | All rights reserved.