Many leaders possess a quality described as executive presence. But when asked to unpack that term, most of us invariably throw out a lot of adjectives, but struggle to get to the heart of what it really means to possess this “presence.” In GP Strategies’ intensive 1-day workshop, Executive Presence: Five Disciplines for Building Exceptional Leadership Stature, we’ll demystify this key leadership trait and help to put participants on the road to cultivating an influential and authentic leadership stature.
According to this Harvard Business Review article, here is how you can improve your executive presence :
- Rely on feedback – Start by actively soliciting feedback on your presence. Especially if you lead, or aspire to, understanding your impact on others is essential.Ask your manager, direct reports, colleagues, and mentors questions such as:
- How would you (briefly) describe my style of presence?
- What’s your general perception of me?
- What can I do to communicate with more impact?
- Tune into how you communicate -Your presence is inextricably linked to how you communicate — not just through words, but through your non-verbal behavior as well. Everything you say and do sends a message. Generally, you want to be clear, concise, and project a confident and action-oriented aura. When communicating with more senior audiences, ask yourself: If they leave after two minutes, what do I want to make sure they understand? Structure your communication so that your recommendation or bottom line comes first, then add analysis and detail as needed. Beyond the words you choose, consider how you use your voice and your accompanying non-verbal behaviors. Do you make good eye contact, project your voice, and stand up straight? Or do you speak softly or avert your gaze? Are you dressed in a way that fits the situation and matches the image you want to project? Your voice, non-verbal behaviors, and appearance are all a part of your message and contribute to your presence — so be authentic to yourself, but also to the kind of leader you aspire to be.
- Experiment with new behaviors – Based on the feedback you received, choose just one or two presence-building behaviors to practice. For example, if you received feedback that you often seem flustered in meetings, you might practice behaviors that signal composure such as using more pauses in your speaking and keeping your body more still. You might also watch a leader you admire who owns the room when speaking. Study what they do that makes them so effective and then try it out for size.
- Be present – Last but not least, you must be present to have presence. Multi-tasking, mind-wandering, or thinking about work that’s piling up as you attend a meeting or interact with others will detract from your presence. Instead, keep your focus in the moment, demonstrating that you’re fully present by asking thoughtful questions or sharing comments that logically follow from the conversation. By staying mentally present, you will be more attuned to both the content of the discussions you participate in and the people “in the room.” This enhanced awareness will help you show up in more intellectually and emotionally intelligent ways, and thereby demonstrate higher levels of executive presence
For more information about this course, please contact P2L.
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