Your Executive Presence – Creating a Path to the “it” factor


This brief session demystifies a highly valued executive trait and provides concrete steps for gaining this master skill.

PROBLEM: Most skilled business leaders are busy with day-to-day challenges and haven’t the time or resources to develop strong presence and authority outside of their comfort zone. Further, the “tips and tricks” likely encountered on blogs and even academic sources like Harvard Business Review, fail to give the top-down orientation to executive presence needed to make solid progress. This session provides deep scientific and social perspective on what makes executive presence and it’s component aspects (Most articles about EP start with “Dress well” – hardly informative!). This sorely-needed primer will enable each individual to assess their current skill level and determine the best path forward. It’s hard to exaggerate the importance of EP, the “it factor”, that accounts for an estimated 25 to 28% of the criteria for advancement to the c-suite!

Back to Basics: Dynamics of Gatherings and The craving for Direction

Executive presence is a group dynamic. If the group majority is seriously impressed with an individual (otherwise qualified as an authority) then that individual would be judged to exhibit executive presence. Group sentiment is the determining factor. And the behavior must respond to the group expectations or norms. EP at a pizza lunch is different than EP in a boardroom. [Note: The entire subject of Executive Presence is explored more deeply in the e-book, “What is Executive Presence in Action?” – see author’s website]

Professional Gatherings (like staff meetings) are nervous making for many attendees. As a whole the group would like some clear and safe direction to guide the proceedings and the outcome. The leader with executive presence is especially fitted to satisfy that need and one of the secrets of his/her power is the ability to satisfy the main group need for safety and secondarily for effectiveness and celebration.

So the EP leader is aiming to satisfy group needs. And to add his own spin

The Executive Presence Performance – Acting, Asserting, Encouraging

What matches the group need? A persona notably above the mid-scale of serious, confident, informed and assertive. The Grownup in the Room. So the first necessity for EP and the attending gravitas is to be not aloof, but serious and composed. Secondly the aspiring leader needs a solid message of “what’s to done, by whom, and how that is the best way forward”. Finally, the leader needs to show friendliness and concern and dismiss the troops from his charge encouraged and empowered. Yes, it’s a tricky act but it’s the only one that works. AND it’s learnable. Of course, remember to dress well too!

Putting it Together – The strategy to Gradually Gain Executive Presence

1. Develop serious presence skills. This is a role play. Easily doable on topics that might seem trivial – like delivering a weather report.

2. Develop a habit for the 30-thousand-foot view and for adding a “twist” to enhance the impression of sagacity (wisdom). Embed this habit with several word games.

3. Develop the wrapper. How to get the initial connection, interest, and authority. How to close and leave the details to others.

4. Assemble and practice the pieces in a mock setting. Gradually up the ante and up the completeness of the act in chosen settings. Go live.

Demo of Essentials and Q/A Exploration with Participants

All aspects will be demonstrated in a “case scenario” simulation.

Live Practice!

Let up to 5 participants practice demonstrating EP (based on actual relevant company messaging if applicable).

Close the Session

Discussion of next steps, individual plans, learning opportunities, etc. Offer follow-ups.