Executive Presence – What is it? How to get it? Why it matters!

Executive presence is such a romantic phrase that everyone seems to be in love with it. However, very few of them actually understand what executive presence is, how to get and practice it and why it matters? All the leaders and executives want their employees to follow them but how do they follow you determines whether you enjoy executive presence or not.

What is Executive Presence?
As a matter of fact, you don’t have to be an executive to enjoy executive presence. It sounds bit strange but it is a fact. Executive education is all about getting people listen to you attentively. But, you have to ensure that they actually want to listen to you and not just because they have to. There are many methods to get people attention such as being angry to them or by commanding them. Although, you need to be commanding on certain occasions yet this approach will not always work.
You will enjoy executive presence when you offer something that other people want to have. It is up to you to find a way to make other people hear what you are saying, the typical example being Nelson Mandela. Mandela lived an amazing life and he was a true executive. People follow his instructions wholeheartedly because they believed that whatever he is saying will benefit them.

Crucial Elements of Executive Presence:
According to a recent study conducted by UCLA, there are three crucial elements of executive presence.

  • Words:
    When you want to say something, you pay a lot of attention on the words you are going to speak. In fact, most of the leaders, senior executives or business leaders write their speeches or hire professional writers for this purpose. They actually put in a lot of thinking in what you are going to say. You sometimes arrange your words, rearrange them and put so much effort in getting everything right.
  • Voice Tone:
    It is important to choose the right words but how do you speak those words is equally important. Therefore, you have to maintain a voice tone which is not offending but pleasing and relaxing for the speakers. Similarly, your voice tone should be consistent with the circumstances in which you are delivering your speech. For instance, it is better to talk slowly if you are trying to convey a message across the audience.
  • Body Language:
    Perhaps, an important element of executive presence which many executives lack is the right body language. It is important to choose right words and the way you are going to deliver them but sometimes it is also important to choose the right format for sharing that information. In fact, your body language or the medium through which you are sharing the information have more impact on your listeners than both words and voice tone combined as illustrated by the following diagram.

You Need to See Both Sides:
Executives also need to understand other people’s perspective as well if they want to have any sort of executive presence. If they try to impose their opinion on others, things can turn complicated. Therefore, it is important for them to listen to what others are saying and give value to their opinions if they themselves want to be listened and respected.
Sometime getting out of the way and giving other persons sense of presence can also work wonders for you. You should realize that the person you are addressing might have better strategy or he is talking to you with more purpose and belief. Therefore, listening to others carefully and taking their advice might also help you get executive presence.

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