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  • Linda R. Taliaferro

Strengthening the Most Important Part of Your Executive Presence


Do people listen to you when you talk? Do you feel like you command a room when you enter it? If you don’t, you might benefit from today’s post, which is all about strengthening your gravitas to enhance your executive presence.


If you want to increase that sense of seriousness, that “it factor” that makes people sit up a bit straighter when you talk, here are my tips!


Pay attention to your verbal habits

Filler words are very common in human speech, but if you can cut them out of your professional persona, you’ll instantly give everything you say a lot more power and impact. Filler words weaken everything you say that comes after. Pay attention to these common fillers words and remove them.

  • Um

  • Like

  • You know

  • I’m just saying

  • Uh


Don’t be afraid to be silent

Filler words are used to bridge the gap between two thoughts, holding space while you formulate the next thing you’re going to say. It’s natural, but it pollutes the meaning of what you’re saying. If you need to formulate a thought, a thoughtful silence is totally acceptable and will give what you say next a lot of impact, because it’s clear you took your time to choose your words,


Be clear and add value

I advise people to speak as clearly, concisely, and resolutely as you can. One way to do that is to avoid restating something someone else just said. It brings no value to repeat something that everyone already heard, and it lessens your presence in the room by implying that you don’t have anything additional to add. Be conscious about your speech and what you’re adding.


If you don’t have a comment, don’t comment

Being clear and adding value to a conversation doesn’t mean that you should be talking constantly. You don’t have to comment if you don't have a comment, and silence can be really golden in the sense that people will know you value their time by not wasting it. If you’re listening intently and speaking purposefully, you’re going to cultivate your gravitas without saying a word.


Be mindful of body language

Have you ever walked into a room and seen someone sitting with their arms folded up, their faces scrunched up and their eyes far away? It’s an immediate negative projection that makes you look closed off, hostile, and unreceptive. If you’re not mindful of your body language, you’re sending a signal to people in the room that you’re closed off or uninterested. Body language is important because it telegraphs that even in a stressful conversation, you’re present. Keep your shoulders back, your posture straight, and your gaze focused on the room.


Try implementing these tactics at your next meeting and you’ll be amazed at the way people sit up and take notice of the things you say. It’s all part of cultivating your own personal sense of gravitas in the workplace.


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