According to Forbes magazine, there are 7 traits of executive presence all beginning with the letter “C”. They are:
Composure, Connection, Charisma, Confidence, Credibility, Clarity, Conciseness
What is executive presence?
In its simplest terms, executive presence is about your ability to inspire confidence:
- in your subordinates – Are you the leader they want to follow?
- among peers – Are you capable and reliable?
- among senior leaders – Do you have the potential for great achievements (most important)
Composure – Are you calm and in control of yourself:
- understanding others
- ability to control your emotions
- recognize emotion in others and manage your response to them
Connection – Are you able to build and maintain rapport and relationships?
- engage others when communicating and make them feel comfortable.
- understand your communication style challenges and how to overcome them
- understand how to read and adapt to the style of others
Charisma – Are you able to draw others to you? When communicating with others do they
- feel that they matter to you
- know that you are solely focused on them
- not distracted by the many other things you could be doing at that moment
- have strong listening skills and an ability to stay “in the moment.”
Confidence – the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something. Communicate confidence both in what you say and how you say it.
- Good posture is essential.
- Eye focus – Only speak when making eye contact and manage your eye focus appropriately when communicating with more than one person — one thought per person.
- Facial expression matches your message and that your voice has good pitch, volume, and pace. And of course, you must look the part.
- Dress – Choose your wardrobe and accessories carefully.
Credibility – the quality of being trusted and believed in. When someone with strong presence speaks, others take note, and there is no doubt of the conviction behind their words.
- Your content important. So is the language you choose to deliver your content.
- Detractors include:
- Bad grammar and typo’s
- Filler language such as “um,” “uh,” and “so”
- Minimizers like “just,” “sort of,” and “this may not be a good idea but…” Note: Minimizers give your audience permission NOT to listen to you.
Clarity: For you to exude presence, the ability to clearly communicate is fundamental. If your point is not clear, you lose any hope of commanding attention.
- Ask yourself, “What is my message in 10 words or less?” If you can’t articulate it to yourself, you’re not ready to communicate it to others.
Conciseness: Being verbose kills presence. Just as it is critical to know what you want to communicate, you must be able to do it concisely.
- Stay on point
- Only expand on a topic with the content that your listener needs.
Executive presence is within your reach. I’ve seen many executives develop their presence with a little personal reflection, practice and coaching.