What is Executive Presence?
Those with real executive presence have the ability to draw others to them, to communicate with authority and poise – while at the same time creating relationships, making others feel valued. It means connecting with the hearts and minds of others to inspire and motivate them.
To do this, you need to seem comfortable and at ease in your own skin. You need to make people want to listen, to gravitate to you – and you need to pay attention, to listen carefully to others and to respond thoughtfully. You also need to be able to create that positive impression in the first few crucial moments of a meeting.
Powerful and memorable presence also requires you to maintain grace under pressure. This means grounding yourself physically and psychologically.
“A person with executive or leadership presence is someone who, by virtue of the effect he or she has on an audience, exerts influence beyond that conferred by formal authority” – Dr Gavin Dagley, 2013
To develop real presence, we need first to connect with ourselves, to build awareness of the way we embody and express our thoughts, and to match the way we are showing up with the impact we intend.
We can become fixed in our habits and our style, and the more senior you are, the less likely others are to give you honest personal or behavioural feedback. Our team’s job is to nurture and help you refine what is working in your favour, to give honest feedback on habits that diminish your presence, and to explore creative alternatives so that you build a wider range of options – supported by solid technical foundations.
Key areas of exploration for executive presence:
- Public speaking for the large stage – performance, stagecraft, speech structure, storytelling, and audience focus.
- Vocal coaching – speak with a voice that makes people want to listen.
- Becoming your own hero: try out new performances.
- Understanding other styles and adapting accordingly.
- Actively listening and curiosity – making people feel seen, heard and understood.
- Action learning to practice and consolidate back at work in between sessions.
Executive presence for female leaders – group sessions
Our experience is that women in leadership roles, across the sectors, frequently experience difficulty in making themselves heard, trusting their voices, and coming across with the gravitas they would wish. This programme works inside-out as well as outside-in to develop powerful presence.
It combines personal awareness of one’s impact on others (feedback from filming, personal experience, coaches and colleagues) with practical / technical speaker skills and reflective practice. It is designed to be a safe and supportive place to take risks and stretch present boundaries and challenge perceived limitations.
Elements we explore, practice and challenge for executive presence:
- Perceptions – how do others perceive me and how do I know? Is anything getting in the way of my impact, and what should I build on?
- Persona – how do I want to be perceived right now and what am I doing to create that?
- Values – is my personal presence and brand aligned with something I can stand for and believe in? How do I demonstrate and articulate it?
- New roles – extending my repertoire. Building the ‘muscles’ that are underused to add scale and flexibility to my performance.