Executive presence is very important if you have aspirations to advance in your career. The way a professional carries themselves, the level of confidence they exhibit and how they speak does impact their ability to establish credibility and to persuade. I have worked with many individuals who wish to improve in that respect. The good news is executive presence can be learned if you make the effort and receive strong coaching from a professional or perhaps a mentor.
Being conscious of your body language is an important first step. Displaying a level of confidence on the outside that you may not on the inside can be powerful. It can change the one people react to you and how receptive they are. This can in turn help to increase your self-confidence. Holding your head high, being conscious of maintaining good posture and working on eye contact are just a few things you can start working on right away. People sometimes associate executive presence with someone that is tall which is something most of us have to overcome. Practice makes perfect, well not exactly but speaking with confidence, projecting your voice and holding your head high even when you don’t feel confident is a great step in the right direction.
The United States is fortunate to have people from every background working and learning together. It serves as a great competitive advantage in a number of different fronts. However, in some cultures, direct eye contact is frowned upon. Some individuals face challenges in unlearning certain behaviors. It is certainly achievable with a little effort.
Connecting with Your Audience
Storytelling is a great way to engage your audience. You can also come up with a few metaphors that can apply to a number of different situations. People are fascinated by metaphors and interpret them based on what’s going on in their life and what makes sense in terms of their beliefs and values. Adapting your communications to your audience is key.
Early on in my career, I had to present to our Vice President of Finance. He wanted me to always talk fast and get right to the point. If I talked slower, he interpreted it as a lack of confidence. I had to deliver the message is a quick and forceful way, sticking with the facts in order to persuade him to support it. It was a valuable lesson in picking up on cues. When you are speaking with a larger and diverse audience, you have to include information that is relevant to various audience members, some want stories, some just want facts, so you have to sprinkle a little of this and that.
There are a number of things you can do to develop your executive presence. It does take a conscious effort that will reap rewards. Standing out amongst the crowd is critical whether you are looking for a promotion, applying for a job, looking for new business opportunities as an entrepreneur. It can increase your earning potential and your overall satisfaction in many ways.