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Creating and Refining an Executive Presence

Although executive presence may be difficult to define, it is not an innate quality. With a little research, mentoring, and honest self-assessment, you can start improving your ‘brand’ image and enhance your overall executive presence.

As a first step, identify individuals who emulate your ideal persona.  Make a list of the qualities which make them stand out.  Some people enhance visibility through their ability to present themselves and their ideas in a credible manner.  They do this through a commanding presence of both voice and physical expressiveness.  They are able to influence others in discussions and meetings and get their point across in a positive manner.  Part of their commanding presence includes how they dress.  The best advice is to dress as those above you do, not your peers or your staff.  Management of executive presence is being in control of how others perceive you.

The starting point for improving your executive presence is determining where you are now, and what improvements need to be made.  Although difficult to do, ask the opinion of everyone you trust, including your family, friends, your boss and other colleagues regarding clothing choices, hair style, and speaking skills.   Additionally, find a mentor whom you admire and will be totally honest with you.  This person should be able to provide straightforward, constructive criticisms to aid your executive development.

Other areas of executive presence include strong leadership and the effective management of a team. Develop and express your personal brand in a way that adds value to your team as well as your organization.  Establishing an executive presence requires a lot of soul-searching and the ability to be an extremely tough self-grader.  Part of executive presence is also your interpersonal effectiveness.  How well do you read others and yourself?  Learning to do that will improve your emotional intelligence.

Finally, no one develops executive presence overnight.  It is a continual learning process. Improving your C-suite effectiveness is a journey worth taking. We encourage you to do ample research on executive presence and seek out an experienced mentor.  Investing time to develop your executive presence will yield positive and satisfying results.  You may also find value in attending a workshop or seeking the services of a personal coach.  After all, there is much wisdom in the old adage that the most important thing you can invest in is yourself.