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How Do You Show Executive Presence?

by | Sep 12, 2018

Executive Presence is intangible but unmistakable. You know it when you see it.

“When leaders with executive presence speak, people listen. They inspire that I’ll-follow-you-anywhere loyalty, conveying an aura of warmth and authenticity to everybody from the receptionist to the CEO.” (BusinessWeek, July 2002)

5 Ways to Show Executive Presence:


“How would you describe yourself?”, I asked a past client. He responded, “Grace under pressure.” It’s no surprise that he is a Senior Vice President of a very successful urban real estate company in Chicago. To show Executive Presence you must be like this client – maintain composure and poise during challenging times, and be adaptable and flexible when handling the unexpected.


A current client wants to work on this very issue of Executive Presence. He is a senior level executive running the AI department of an international company. Yet, he leans back – literally and philosophically. His image is not congruent with the culture of his company. To project a professional image means your language, attire and behavior needs to be consistent with the norms established within your organizational culture.


One of the tenants of “emotional intelligence aka EQ” is self-awareness. I tell my clients that a high IQ is a given (or you would not hold this successful position). It’s EQ that distinguishes who the best leaders are. Strong self-awareness includes understanding others’ perceptions and motivations in addition to one’s own impact as a leader.


Self-assurance is key to Executive Presence. The old adage, “Actions speak louder than words”, is true. Your nonverbal behavior is a critical component of showing gravitas. Eye contact, poise, gestures and your facial expression can support or detract from your presence.


Our blog is all about how to communicate to grow your business. Regarding Executive Presence, some compelling communication guidelines are: be clear, understand your organizational dynamics, gain buy-in with others, and manage relationships throughout your company.

Executive Presence is NOT just about showing charisma. And, this is good news to over half the population; you do NOT have to be an extrovert!

Executive Presence is about communicating your image with confidence, self-awareness and grace.

Source: WJM Associates

© Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 3 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, Albert Einstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.

Read more at www.SpeakForYourself.com/blog.




Karen Cortell Reisman, MS, Executive Communication Author & Speaker



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