Executive presence may be hard to define, but we know it when we see it. An individual with strong presence walks into a room and make instant connections. Conversation opens up to involve them. When they speak, they create total engagement. When the waters get rough, they remain grounded and open to the world around them. When they lead, people follow. Discover some tips to improve your executive presence!
Suzanne McCall and HRDQ-U recently hosted a free webinar entitled, Talking with the Top: Tips for Building and Using Your Executive Presence. McCall is a Senior Consultant with Pinnacle Group Business Resources, LLC and has been working with leaders across all industries as they seek to enhance their leadership and management skills. Through a highly interactive learning process and one-on-one coaching, McCall has contributed to the effectiveness of local, regional, national and global leaders.
“Suzanne did an excellent job of presenting key points in a brief amount of time, involving us and had expertise of the topic. Thanks HRDQ for these tips. Most helpful!”
The objectives of the webinar were as follows:
- Boost your ability to attain positive results with your executive audiences in multiple situations
- Learn the Drivers of Executive Presentation Results
- Develop a plan for a well-aligned executive level presentation
- Discover a secret ingredient for powering through executive presentation challenges
Characteristics of Executive Presence
First, we have to define “executive presence”. The key characteristics are:
Next, we have to define what a “presentation” is in today’s workplace. It is an interaction containing the following components:
- A messenger
- A receiver
- A detailed message
- A desired outcome
Then the audience was asked to design their own presentation plan. The two key elements to remember are “who is in your audience” and “what is the situation?”
There are five components of a successful executive presentation.
- Audience Alignment
- Message Integration
- Strong Delivery
- Follow Through
It is important to be passionate about your presentation and your work.
Tips to Improve Your Executive Presence
Here are some key tips to improve your executive presence:
- Confidence. Confidence is something that many times we show in our body, in our eye contact, in our physical language of gesture. Many times this is something that if we’re not feeling confident, we can use our body, we can use our body language and use our eye contact to relay that sense of confidence, even if we’re not feeling it in our own selves. So this is something that we can bring into a conversation even when maybe we’re not feeling as confident as we should. Confidence is something that allows us to speak with certainty and to get a message across to an audience in a certain way.
- Connection. There are two aspects to this. One has to do with people
connection and the other with connection to information. As we think about making an authentic connection with people, this is certainly
a key aspect of executive presence. If we think about information, two things are happening here. We’re connecting individuals to our information, to the message we are seeking to relay to an audience. But we’re also helping them to make connections between information and ideas that we are sharing.
- Composure. This is very handy in a moment of pressure. So if the stakes are high, there are people in the room perhaps that make you nervous or you feel a sense of pressure, we need to have that composure. And many times again, this can show up in body language and how we are using our gestures and our eye contact.
- Passion. Many times, people think that this runs counter: I
need to be serious, I need to be formal, I need to be buttoned up. But as we think about important conversations, there needs to be some passion in there, especially if you’re seeking to influence or persuade members of your audience.
- Credibility. This is something that we shouldn’t be afraid to show.
Do you have expertise? Do you have understanding that’s deeper maybe than even your audience has? Where can you bring that credibility, demonstrate that credibility and share it with your audience?
- Clarity. We want to make sure that our message is clear. If it’s not clear to us, then it’s probably not going to be clear to the audience.
- Conciseness. This is certainly important for busy fast-thinking
audiences. They want you to get to the point and they want you to deliver that message in a way that is concise, that is easy to grab and run with. Think about how you can boil down your major points into something concise.
- Openness. This is that ability to be open to anything that happens in the room. As you think about those people that you respect, think about people that you believe have executive presence and you’ve seen them demonstrate it over and over again, they probably have a sense of openness. They’re open to other people, to differing opinions, but also to differing styles of communication and thought.
Watch The Webinar
Do you want to learn more about building and using your executive presence? Do you want to understand how your audience members communicate? If so, then click here to watch the recorded session.