By, Frank Danzo – Senior Partner
There are many traits that powerful women share. For instance, the way they carry themselves with their shoulders back and head held high. They make eye contact when they walk into a room. They aren’t afraid to share their thoughts and ideas. They communicate with passion and energy. The style of a powerful woman is professional but represents their personality. When they sit, they don’t cower in the corner, instead, they take up space like a powerful man would. They exude what is referred to as “Executive Presence”.
“Executive Presence” is for the business world what the “X-factor” is for the entertainment world. It’s often an elusive, vague concept that’s hard to put into words but easy to identify when we stumble upon it.
Executive Presence is a set of traits that signal strength, poise, and emotional intelligence. This concept should not be confused with performance. Before performance even comes into play, others have to believe that you have what it takes to get results, and Executive Presence is what it takes to convey that message.
There are three aspects to Executive Presence:
● Gravitas (how you act)
● Communication (how you talk)
● Appearance (how you look)
Gravitas is overwhelmingly the most important aspect of Executive Presence, and the bulk of that trait is demonstrated through confidence and poise under pressure.
Here’s what gravitas isn’t:
● A lack of depth in experience or knowledge
● Talking about inappropriate topics
● Demonstrating a limited grasp of key issues
● Not accepting responsibility for your actions
A leader with gravitas:
● Has the courage to express her opinions
● Shows grace under fire
● Knows body language speaks louder than words
● Makes eye contact and has a firm handshake
Communication is the second most important trait of Executive Presence. How well you verbally communicate can make or break your professional image. It directly influences how others view your work and performance, and it effects your prospects for career advancement.
A great communicator:
● Uses strong, clear language and an authoritative tone of voice
● Communicates with passion and energy and;
● Listens more than she talks
To crack the Executive Presence puzzle, we have to address an often controversial and sensitive topic – appearance. When it comes to Executive Presence, you don’t need to look like a model or be a size 2! What counts is that you look healthy, polished, and comfortable in your own skin.
Looking your best not only impacts the way others view you but also how you view yourself. When you look good, you feel good. When you feel good, you look good! A very nice vicious circle!
In the end, feeling good about yourself comes across as being effective and in control – traits all great leaders have!
A Woman with Executive Presence appears:
● Polished and well groomed
● Dresses appropriately for every occasion
● Embodies health and wellness
For women who want to expand their influence, gain respect, and build successful careers, Executive Presence is an indispensable tool. Thankfully, Executive Presence is not something you have to be born with. Once you recognize and understand its three components – gravitas, communication, and appearance – you can start making small changes in each area. The result will be well worth the investment.
While possessing Executive Presence alone won’t get you promoted or get you the career you’ve always wanted, its absence will impede your progress.
The best leaders are the best learners. People who don’t push themselves to learn continuously do not progress in life. They fail to come up with new ideas, struggle to obtain new perspectives, and grow stale in their skills.
Become endlessly useful to your team, your customers and most of all, yourself by learning something new every day. If you’re interested in learning more about Executive Presence, contact me. Experience on Demand offers “Executive Presence Workshops for Women”. These workshops can be provided in a group setting or in one-on-one individual sessions.
As the saying goes, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Call us and we’ll help you create a great one!