• Linda R. Taliaferro

What Is Executive Presence And How Do You Establish It In Your Career?

Being the loudest in the room only means you are being the loudest in the room. It doesn’t equate to you being the better leader or the most respected. And it definitely does not equate to having an executive presence.

The Executive Presence Myth

Especially in the US, there are many myths and misunderstandings about having an executive presence.

There are bad ideas that in order to be respected in the board room, you must be loud, domineering, and present a certain bravado. False.

There are misconceptions that you have to buy your way into executive presence by spending thousands of dollars for the signature executive look. False.

There are downright lies that you have to be part of a certain demographic to be seen as having a strong presence that people gravitate towards. False. False. False.

The Executive Presence Truth

Where there is fiction, there is fact. So what are the facts behind executive presence?

The reality is there is no ideal executive presence archetype.

You should breathe a sigh of relief after reading that because it means you don’t need to “fake it ‘til you make it” or only bring half of your true self to the table.

You are enough, exactly as you are.

With that in mind, the question now turns to, how do you elevate your true self to make the connections and earn the respect that comes with having a strong executive presence?

Here are three components that you can use to establish what executive presence looks like for you in your company and career.

The Three Pillars of Executive Presence

1- Appearance

Before you think you have to get your hair pressed and spend thousands of dollars on business suits and shoes, let me stop you. Anybody can play dress-up to act in a role. That’s not what your goal is.

Appearance is more about your body language and disposition.

Do you carry yourself with confidence? If you learn how to display confidence no matter what you are wearing, you are on the right track to establishing your executive presence.

Quick tip about confidence.

Confidence comes from knowing who you are and being comfortable in your own skin.

2- Communication

I can’t say this enough. Being the loudest or acting as if you are the smartest person in the room has more to do with ego than executive presence.

You don’t want people to tolerate you. You want them to connect with you, and how you communicate determines that.

Communication involves knowing your audience and active listening. Both of these boil down to respecting those you communicate with. When you understand that communication is less about you and more about those you communicate with, you will gain the credibility and respect you need to earn your executive presence.

3- Gravitas

This goes back to confidence and understanding that it’s not about how you look that attracts the right kind of attention but how you present yourself holistically.

In addition, having gravitas is having strong emotional intelligence. Your emotional intelligence is something the outside observer is keenly aware of, especially when you are in meetings and tough conversations are taking place or issues suddenly come up that need a reaction from you.

Handling yourself with professionalism, level-headedness, and care goes a long way to moving away from the idea of arrogance into the world of confidence. Confidence that your team can put their full trust in.

You Have Executive Presence

Executive presence shouldn’t be a mystery, and there should be no barriers to access.

You are who you need, and you have what you need to establish your leadership presence in your organization. Your new goal is to use these three pillars to elevate these already established parts of your character.

Be comfortable bringing your whole self to the table, not just the parts you think people want from you. They need all of you. And your executive presence is a lie if it is not all of who you are.

Boost Your Self Confidence

Executive presence equals self-confidence.

If your confidence is not yet at a ten, you are missing out on opportunities to continue changing the trajectory of your career. To help you fill in the gap and reach your full potential, I have a free gift for you. A free guide designed to help you walk into the corporate world like you are meant to be there. Because you are!

Download the FREE GUIDE: Workplace Confidence for Black & Brown Women.

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