Executive Presence: Be Fully Present and Look like you Belong

George TorokCommunication skills, Executive presence, Leadership communication Leave a Comment


When was the last time that you were in a meeting or at an event and felt like you didn’t belong? Maybe you didn’t. What if you did belong and simply felt and acted like you didn’t? Would you like to both feel better and look better when you are in an uncomfortable setting? Then consider these ideas on how to approach executive or leadership presence.

Executive Presence is a collection of skills

Executive presence is a set of qualities that leaders display in their behavior, demeanor, communication, and appearance. It refers to the way they carry themselves, exude confidence, and project their authority and leadership skills. It is a critical attribute for anyone aspiring to advance to leadership positions in their organization or industry.

Executive presence encompasses several traits, including charisma, confidence, poise, communication skills, and emotional intelligence. Leaders who possess executive presence can command attention, inspire others, and influence decision-making. They are seen as credible, competent, and capable of handling challenging situations.

Developing a strong and consistent executive presence is an ongoing process that requires deliberate effort and continuous learning. What can you do to develop and enhance your executive presence?

Follow these nine techniques to boost your Executive Presence

  1. Define Your Personal Brand:

Defining your personal brand is the first step towards developing executive presence. Who are you? What is your purpose? What are your values?

Personal branding involves identifying your unique value proposition, defining your strengths and weaknesses, and determining how you want to be perceived by others. This process requires self-reflection, honest feedback, and an understanding of your career aspirations. By creating a clear and compelling personal brand, you can establish yourself as a credible and authentic leader.


  1. Cultivate Self-Awareness:

Self-awareness is a critical component of executive presence. What do you know about yourself? When you have those difficult conversations with self, do you ask and address the most challenging questions?

Individuals who are self-aware are better equipped to understand their strengths and limitations, manage their emotions, and communicate effectively with others.


Cultivating self-awareness requires individuals to take an honest look at themselves, seek feedback from others, and be willing to make changes where necessary.


  1. Develop Your Communication Skills:

Effective communication is an essential part of executive presence. Individuals who can communicate clearly, concisely, and confidently are more likely to be perceived as credible and authoritative. You will find much more tips and techniques about developing your communication skills on this website.

The most fundamental communication skills is listening. Listen for the real message.


  1. Build Your Emotional Intelligence:

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognize and manage your own emotions and understand the emotions of others. Individuals who possess emotional intelligence are better equipped to navigate complex social situations, build relationships, and influence others.

To build your emotional intelligence, practice empathy, manage your emotions, and seek feedback from others.

For more on empathy, listen to the podcast interview with Dr. Helen Reiss on Your Intended Message.


  1. Project Confidence:

Confidence is a key component of executive presence. Individuals who exude confidence are more likely to be seen as credible and authoritative. To project confidence, practice good posture, maintain eye contact, and speak with conviction. It’s also essential to be well-prepared and knowledgeable about the topics you are discussing.


  1. Dress Appropriately:

Dressing appropriately is an important part of executive presence. Your attire should reflect the expectations of your industry, position, and audience. Dressing appropriately not only makes you look professional but also demonstrates that you understand and respect the culture and expectations of your organization.

Yes, it does matter what you wear because that is the first impression and lasting visual.


  1. Develop Your Leadership Skills:

Leadership skills are a critical part of executive presence. Individuals who can lead effectively are more likely to be seen as credible and authoritative. To develop your leadership skills, seek out leadership opportunities, learn from other leaders, and practice effective decision-making.

Successful leadership is not an inborne trait. It’s a skillset that must be developed.


  1. Practice Gravitas:

Gravitas is a quality that encompasses dignity, seriousness, and importance. Individuals who possess gravitas are seen as authoritative, composed, and capable of handling challenging situations. To develop gravitas, practice being calm under pressure, speak with conviction, and be intentional in your actions.

Gravitas is a subject that we can explore more on this site.


  1. Build Your Networks:

Building a strong professional network is an important part of developing executive presence. Your network can provide you with valuable feedback, support, and opportunities to grow and develop your skills. To build your network, attend industry events, join professional organizations, and seek out mentorship opportunities.

Develop your inner and outer networks because they serve different purposes. Are you clear on the different value of your various networks?


In conclusion, executive presence is a critical attribute for anyone aspiring to advance to leadership positions in their organization or industry. Developing executive presence requires deliberate effort and consistency.

Executive presence






Executive presence: How can you develop your Executive & Leadership presence?

Read these posts:

How to Speak with More Confidence

Chief Executive Speaking

How to Own the Room when You Speak

How to Choose Your Executive Speech Coach


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