Communicating executive presence

Recently as I’ve been working with executive searches, it has become extraordinarily clear, that regardless of a candidate’s accomplishments and excellent work history, those who succeeded further than others in the search process, had a “presidential” quality or what I might term as “executive presence.” Interestingly enough, this anecdotal evidence about “executive presence” is backed by a 2012 study by the Center for Talent Innovation. They found that executive presence accounts for 25% of what it takes to get promoted to director-level and above positions.

So, what if you want to develop your own executive presence in order to move into higher levels of leadership? Executive presence sounds rather ambiguous, something that you might only know when you see it.

Fortunately, the Center for Talent Innovation, has helped demystify the concept, by identifying three key elements that comprise executive presence:

  •     Gravitas, or the ability to project confidence, poise under pressure, and decisiveness
  •     Communication, which comprises excellent speaking skills, assertiveness, and the ability to read an audience or situation
  •     Appearance—looking polished and pulled together

As you think about your leadership development, where might you need to strengthen your executive presence? Do you need to project more confidence? Polish up your speaking skills? Or update your appearance?

Anita Rios

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