When looking online for the definition of executive presence, you’ll find things like:
“It’s about having a certain presence, or “aura”
“Having the ability to find a connection point with most people”
“The ability to inspire confidence in others”
“Executive presence” is a term that can spark curiosity in professionals or leaders looking to advance their careers, and leave a meaningful impact and legacy.
Executive presence is not simply attained by moving into a higher job position, but is the result of careful and intentional cultivation. There are many high-ranking executives today that don’t possess an executive presence. So, how do you build yours?
Cultivating an executive presence requires you to be clear about yourself. Knowing who you are, what you value, what your strengths and skills are and where you’re headed (who you want to be, the legacy you want to leave, the impact you want to make) helps you make a connection with others. The vision of where you want to go (your desired brand) leads how you’ll show up every day.
To build and grow your executive presence, there are three pillars to focus on: gravitas, image, and communication.
Let’s look at the communication pillar. To command the attention of a room with your presence, influence, and impact your audience, you’ll need a strong narrative.
Communication: Connecting with others through narrative
When you’re clear, and can communicate your purpose and vision to others with confidence, you make it possible for them to relate to you, be inspired by you, and want to follow you.
- Your narrative should be tailored to communicate who you are and what you stand for. Your messages should be crafted and shared with the intent to bond with the audiences you’re building relationships with.
- When you speak to your audience, use their language, keywords, and feelings to reach them. If your audience doesn’t “get” you or find you relevant, compelling, and interesting, they’ll have trouble connecting with you.
If you want to advance in your career, your presence will make all the difference in being heard, bringing your ideas to life, and empowering those around you to rise to their fullest potential. A strong presence enables you to command attention and influence others. Your message is heard. Your ideas are implemented. Your vision is endorsed.