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How to Develop Executive Presence and Lead with Confidence

Think back to a recent meeting.

Was there someone in the room that seemed to attract and engage everyone around the table?

Did they have the ability to walk into the boardroom, command attention and leave everyone wanting more?

You can have that too.

How to develop executive presence and lead with confidence

It's called executive presence or leadership presence. While it may seem like that person was born with it, it’s probably something that they’ve worked very hard to achieve.

What is executive presence?

In its simplest terms, executive presence is about your ability to inspire confidence. You’ve become the leader your team want to follow. You inspire confidence among colleagues as well as senior leaders that you have the potential for great achievements.

Why is it important?

Your executive presence determines whether you gain access to opportunity. Are you working towards an important opportunity, a promotion to a critical role or an assignment to a high-visibility project?

The opportunities you gain access to will depend on the confidence you’ve inspired in decision makers and stakeholders.

How do I develop it?

Executive presence is a combination of personal traits and outward behaviours that create an image of leadership competence and trustworthiness. Here's 4 things to keep in mind when developing your executive presence...

1. Your mindset

Your mindset helps you cultivate presence. A large part of how you come across to others is driven by your personal belief in your abilities.

If you find yourself with low self-esteem, you may be suffering from imposter syndrome. This is when you start to believe that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. 

Fear not. There are ways to overcome this. For example, sharing your feelings with others, aim to stop comparing yourself and your skills with others and write down your accomplishments to really see all you have achieved. 

Taking the steps to recognise your achievements and skillset will help you feel more confident in your abilities as a leader. 

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2. First impressions and appearance

You already know that first impressions are important. Your presentation (physical stature, clothing, personal hygiene) and verbal communication skills send an important message to your audience.

A person with good executive presence never lets people see them sweat. They’re not seen rushing from meeting to meeting (even if they are) and they’re not flustered when they speak. Be prepared and know your audience to make the best impact. 

3. Authenticity

A respectful demeanour and genuine authenticity are essential in establishing and maintaining the impressions that will become the foundation of effective leadership.

Authenticity comes from your ability to recognise your emotions and manage them. Your ability to remain composed in conflict and high-tension situations is important.

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4. Communication

It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. Voice, stance and expression all affect what people hear and remember. You know your stuff so work on the impact you want to make.

Making an impact with your voice isn’t all about being loud and it doesn’t need to be about having a big personality. Make your voice count, slow it all down, lower your voice and don’t be afraid of silence.

Develop Executive Presence with our Upcoming Training Course

Executive presence is an important skill to work on, whether you’re already a leader or not. Before you head to that next big meeting, secure your place on our Projecting Powerful Leadership Presence course and begin to develop your own executive presence. 

We can even run this course for you In-House at your organisation or a venue of your choice - on a date to suit you! Contact our In-House training team to find out more about developing a bespoke training agenda tailored to your organisation's requirements. Email or call 0800 542 9414 to find out more.

In-House Training for Communication