Executive presence

What is executive presence?

What is executive presence?

Bit Famous Guides

Bit Famous works with businesses and organisations
to help them communicate with confidence.

By Steve Blears

Director - Bit Famous

Penny Haslam

What is executive presence?

Executive presence is an important quality for leaders and those in positions of authority, as it can help inspire confidence in others and convey a sense of competence.

It can also establish your credibility, authority and make you appear more confident and in control. Crucial for gaining the respect and trust of your people, clients, customers and other stakeholders.

This can be especially important in a range of business situations from presenting to colleagues, to dealing with high-pressure situations or when dealing with challenging people.

Some key elements of executive presence include:

  • Confidence: Being able to project confidence and assurance, even in difficult or uncertain situations, can be critical for establishing your authority and credibility. Confidence can come from being well-prepared, having a clear understanding of the situation at hand, and being able to communicate your ideas and opinions effectively.
  • Communication skills: Being able to communicate effectively and clearly is essential for building relationships, influencing others, and achieving your goals. This involves being able to speak clearly and concisely and use language that is appropriate for the audience and situation.
  • Competency: A strong level of job competency can help to establish credibility and demonstrate a person's ability to lead and make decisions.
  • Personal demeanour: Your demeanour, or the way that you carry yourself, can have a big impact on how others perceive you. 
  • Listening actively: One of the key elements of good executive presence is the ability to listen actively and to understand others' perspectives. In a conflict situation, this can involve actively listening to both employees, and asking questions to help clarify their positions and understand their concerns.
  • Being fair and impartial:  Being objective and unbiased, and making decisions that are based on the facts and the needs of both employees, rather than on personal preferences or biases.
  • Maintaining a positive attitude: Maintaining a positive attitude and a professional demeanour. This can involve staying calm and composed, and avoiding getting drawn into any personal attacks or escalations of the conflict.
  • Leadership skills:  Inspiring and motivating others, guiding a team towards a shared goal. This can involve being able to delegate tasks effectively, providing clear direction and guidance, and being able to make difficult decisions when necessary.
  • Emotional intelligence: Being able to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as the emotions of others, can be important for building strong relationships and maintaining a positive work environment. This can involve being able to empathize with others, manage conflicts effectively, and communicate in a way that is respectful and supportive.

How do you teach executive presence?

It can be improved through coaching and training either individually or in groups. Here are some general strategies:

  1. Presentation skills training: Communicating clearly and effectively, speaking in a confident, articulate, and organized manner can help to convey a sense of competence and leadership.
  2. Coaching to developing a personal brand profile: Identifying and consistently projecting a clear and consistent personal brand can help to establish credibility and build trust with others.
  3. Seeking feedback and coaching: Asking for feedback from others and working with a coach can help to identify areas for improvement and develop specific skills.
  4. Practicing and rehearsing: Regularly practicing and rehearsing for different situations can help to build confidence and improve performance.
  5. Paying attention to demeanour & body language: Standing and sitting with good posture, making eye contact, and using gestures can all help to project confidence and authority.

Can executive presence training improve the profitability of a business?

While there is no guarantee that executive presence training will directly improve the profitability of a business, it is possible that such training could have a positive impact on a company's bottom line.

This is because executive presence can be an important factor in leadership and influence, and effective leaders can play a key role in driving organisational success. For example, leaders with a strong executive presence may be able to inspire and motivate their teams to perform at a high level, which can lead to improved productivity and efficiency.

In addition, a leader with a strong executive presence may be able to build strong relationships with customers and partners, which can lead to increased sales and revenue. Ultimately, while executive presence training may not directly impact profitability, it can contribute to a range of factors that can have a positive impact on a company's bottom line.

How do I take my first steps to improve executive presence?

If you are looking to develop your executive presence, there are a few key steps that you can take to get started:

  1. Identify your goals: Before you begin, it can be helpful to think about what you hope to achieve by developing your executive presence. This can help to focus your efforts and provide a sense of direction.
  2. Assess your current skills and abilities: Take some time to reflect on your current strengths and areas for improvement in terms of executive presence. This can help to identify specific areas to focus on as you begin your development journey.
  3. Seek feedback and coaching: One of the best ways to develop your executive presence is to seek feedback and guidance from others who have experience in this area. This could involve working with a coach, seeking feedback from colleagues or mentors, or participating in training programs.
  4. Practice and rehearse: Executive presence is a skill that can be developed through practice and repetition. Consider finding opportunities to practice and rehearse in a safe and supportive environment, such as role-playing with a colleague or giving a presentation to a small group.
  5. Be consistent and persistent: Developing executive presence is a process that takes time and effort. Be consistent in your efforts and stay persistent, even if you encounter challenges along the way. As you continue to work on your skills and abilities, you should begin to see improvement over time.