How To Have An Executive Presence

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How To Have An Executive Presence

Executive presence is a serious subject for which a number of scholarly articles have been written.  Most importantly, this form of professional gravitas is crucial to leadership and it is something that can be learned and developed.

Executive presence describes your ability as a leader to inspire confidence among your teams. Above all, it’s the way you leave an impression on others. Through your leadership presence, you demonstrate competence and reliability among peer and senior leaders who will believe in your vision and your ability to achieve it.

In addition, executive presence is also crucial in gaining access to opportunities. As a result, by inspiring confidence in your abilities as a leader, decision-makers can depend on you, so opportunities grow.


Forbes set forth 7 steps to build your presence:

  1. Express your vision clearly
  2. Understand how others experience you
  3. Build communication skills
  4. Become an excellent listener
  5. Cultivate your network and build political savvy
  6. Learn to operate effectively under stress
  7. Make sure your appearance isn’t a distraction

The unifying point of these suggestions is that they are skills that can be learned, practiced, and  cultivated over time.

executive presence in a group

Harvard Business Review polled executives concerning “make or break” factors in the promotion of executives. Executive presence was at the top of a short list of criteria.

It is not easy to define executive presence. Sharon Florentive of quotes Sara Greenberg of Betterup: Executive presence is the unique combination of qualities and the  authentic capacity to connect in a way that inspires while remaining true to who you are. 

According to Annette Kramer of Strategy and Business, the value of this type of leadership — the ability to communicate what needs to be said in a way that inspires people to join you — has risen sharply in recent years.  In other words, trust is increasingly considered a key competitive advantage. In addition, here are great tips to follow.

Her unique perspective is embodied in her 10 tips to develop executive presence:

  1. Show up as a whole person
  2. Lead with what you care about
  3. Begin a conversation that others want to continue
  4. Focus through your body
  5. Cultivate sustainable curiosity
  6. Start by standing still
  7. Find the story in everything
  8. Hold something back
  9. Investigate your impact
  10. Build your muscle memory

These 10 tips are a great starting point in further developing your executive presence. Above all, it is key you use these tips like these to build your executive presence. However, these are a starting point, and we will highlight soft skills as well.

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To sum up, executive presence may be difficult to define, but we know it when we see it. No longer can leaders depend on the authority of their positions alone. Genuine empathy, humility, and communication skills appear to be the order of the day. In other words, developing these “soft” skills is absolutely necessary for the success of today’s executives and leaders.

Moreover, if you want to learn more what executive presence is and how it can be learned,  our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer complimentary 25-minute phone sessions.

We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.