A important factor to being an impactful leader is having what is called “executive presence.” Although hard to define, as Diane Craig, President of Corporate Class Inc. in Toronto, Canada puts it, “Executive presence is neither exclusive nor elusive.™”
Some say you need to be born with presence, but experienced executive leadership coaches, like Diane, believe that executive presence can be learned, and that “no one is born with a brilliant back-hand serve or vibrant communication skills.”
The key to developing executive presence is to ultimately believe in yourself, and to exhibit a quiet confidence in your leadership role using behaviors that can be learned with practice.
So, What is Executive Presence?
When you walk into a room, you can immediately sense who has “executive presence” and who does not. It is something you’ll become aware of very quickly. There are those who exude presence, and those who do not.
Some land executive roles and make their way up to the C-suite because of executive presence. This does not necessarily mean they are the best leaders. There are many good leaders, but unfortunately many do not always have executive presence.
How to Develop Executive Presence
Although, there are many factors that go into building leadership presence, there are three key traits you need to work on to develop executive presence:
- Communication Skills
- Body Language
- Building Relationships
Strong communication skills go beyond being able to express yourself proficiently while speaking or with the written word. A leader with executive presence is able to communicate clearly and authentically with compassion, confidence and authority. The idea is to be brief, use storytelling to communicate vision, and establish a genuine positive connection with the audience you are speaking to.
Leaders with executive presence also exhibit positive body language, by standing tall while speaking and maintaining eye contact. Appearance also matters, and leaders with presence are well dressed and groomed for the occasion. They may meet you with a greeting or a handshake and know exactly how to work a room effortlessly, while commanding attention and respect.
Leadership presence also means having “emotional intelligence”, and recognizing the thoughts and emotions employees, colleagues and clients are feeling and being able to connect with them on an emotional level. It’s about genuinely building strong meaningful relationships.
Ambitious professionals and top-ranking senior leaders know that building presence is a must and that executive presence coaching is compulsory to get ahead.
Corporate Class Inc. conducts executive presence workshops around the world — from the Americas, to Europe and the Gulf.
Diane emphasizes that, “to be crowned a leader, a person must be recognized as a leader. Our role is empowering people to lead. Executive presence is a blend of related parts that vary according to personality and circumstance. There is no formula; every client is unique. We ensure they evolve and develop their own authentic presence.”