We know when delivering a high-stakes presentation or meeting, it is important to show up professionally and with purpose. But what exactly is the “IT Factor” that sets apart the good from the great? Some call it Executive Presence.
Leaders present themselves with confidence, credibility, and poise. How you communicate, act, and look all contribute to your overall presence regardless of the landscape.
Executive presence might be difficult to define, but easy to refine. So, what can you do to take your presence to the next level?
Have a Clear Message.
When we lack clarity around what we want to say, it shows up in our body language. Ultimately our audience may view us as lacking confidence or credibility.
- Ask yourself, what is the one key message I want my audience to take away from my presentation? The clearer you get on your message, the more you will command their presentation.
The inevitable starting point is you. If you aren’t aware of how you come across, it’s hard to pinpoint where to improve.
- Take time to record and watch yourself presenting. What does your presence convey – Confidence? Nervousness? Excitement? Influence?
- Ask a trusted colleague for feedback on your presence. Listen to your strengths – so you can continue to leverage them, and for suggestions on what you can do to improve your presence.
Establish a Confident Presence.
Using the widely accepted 7-38-55% communication rule, we know that approximately 55% of communication is non-verbal. This means we are saying a lot by not saying anything at all.
- What does your body language say? Do you consistently make eye contact? Are your gestures and facial expressions in line with your message? Do you command the room?
- For those presenting virtually, what kind of message do your background and lighting say about you? Is your background professional? Do your camera and lighting help you create a clear image and connection?
Executive presence is a vital leadership skill that is essential in every part of an organization. Whether you are charting a path to the C-suite, or simply wanting to connect with confidence, executive presence is something you can put into practice in a variety of settings every day.