Even if you don’t know what executive presence is, you definitely know how it feels. It’s that thing that happens when someone walks into a room and you immediately feel inclined to pay attention to them. They exude a certain type of confidence and composure that makes you want to listen to what they have to say and follow their lead.
People with the ability to enter a room and instantly command attention are people with a strong executive presence. But achieving this particular brand of presence brings more benefits than simply commanding attention. It opens up new opportunities, evokes trust in your ideas, and helps you lead much more effectively.
Unless you’re one of the lucky few born with this type of presence, though, it takes a bit of work to cultivate. But you’re not one to shy away from a little work if it means you can significantly step your leadership game up, right? Good. Then check out the following techniques to achieve a stronger executive presence.
Stand Like You Mean It
Thanks to Amy Cuddy’s comprehensive study on the art of power posing, we now know that the way you present yourself nonverbally is just as important, and perhaps even more so, as what you say. In fact, her study suggests that simply standing with your hands on your hips, AKA doing a power pose, for one to two minutes before your presentation will allow you to better showcase your worth and confidence to an audience.
Find Your Focus
If your mind is wandering in 27 different directions, the people around you can feel it. At best, you’ll come across as preoccupied and disengaged; at worst, you’ll appear indecisive and incompetent. Neither option makes it easy for anyone to trust your leadership capabilities. A super easy trick to bring your mind back to the present moment is simply to count your breath. Whenever you notice yourself getting lost in your brain, redirect your attention to your breath until you feel centered and present again.
Make a Connection
Someone with a strong executive presence is able to easily connect with those around them. Connection brings engagement and engagement is what’s needed to compel change. The ability to connect is vital to being a successful leader. To cultivate a connection with an individual or an audience requires that you take care to ask questions, listen openly and attentively, and tell stories that people can relate to, so make sure to integrate those things into your presentation.
Keep Communication Concise
A long, confusing communication style is a strong indicator that someone doesn’t know what they’re doing. If you want people to trust what you have to say, then you want to be crystal clear with your message by cutting out the fluff. Delivering concise, straightforward messages instantly lets others know that you’re confident in what you’re saying. This will breathe power into your message.