Have you ever seen someone whose presence takes command the moment they enter a room? They don’t attract attention because they are loud or flashy. They exude a silent confidence seen and felt by others. They speak in a way that draws people in. Their influence encourages others to willingly act upon what they say.
Think of someone you know with executive presence. Chances are, you can’t put your finger on any one single skill they possess, rather a combination of attributes that makes them uniquely influential.
Executive presence requires work. It means admitting the skills it took to reach your current level of success are not enough to guarantee continued success. It goes beyond just wanting to get better. It requires a willingness to disrupt your old habits and a commitment to practice skills even when they feel unnatural. If you are ready to do the work, these 3 skills will help you achieve the executive presence needed to have influence.
- Clearly Convey Your Vision
Executive presence, like influence, isn’t granted with years of experience or a fancy title. Leaders demonstrate executive presence when they can clearly communicate their vision. Too often, leaders fail to influence others because their message is long and hard to follow. When I ramble or take too long to reach a point, my coach says to me “Commit to a lane and land the plane.” To have influence, your message must land in a way that is clear, concise, and easy to remember. Words matter. Clarity yields confidence.
- Encourage Accountability
Executive presence grows when leaders encourage and empower employees to prioritize their own self-development. Influence is the direct result of respect, credibility, and trust earned from others. Grow your influence by encouraging your team to grow their own. Studies show people retain only 5% of what they hear, 10% of what they read, and 90% of what they teach others. Develop your employees’ ability to influence others by creating an accountability program. Establish accountability partnerships among employees that provide productive feedback on ways to improve each other’s communication skills. Growing their influence will result in growing your own.
- Ditch Self Doubt
Confidence is the one word most associated with executive presence. When people consider someone they believe to have influence, they often describe them as confident; and yet, too often we allow self-doubt to steal our confidence. We allow insecurities to creep into our thoughts, resulting in our use of words and body language that reflects our deep-seated doubt. When unsure of our ideas, we tend to change our tone and rate of speech. We slouch. Our eyes dart when speaking, and we fail to connect with our listeners in a way that makes an impact. When you speak, focus on how you convey your message, even if you’re feeling insecure. Stand up tall, with your shoulders back and hands comfortably at your side. Make deliberate eye contact when you speak, only breaking long enough to pause between topics. You may feel unsure on the inside, but your communication skills will convey confidence.
Every professional who exhibits executive presence chose at some point in their career to become a better communicator. Use these three tips and make the choice to become better today.