Executive Presence: Do You Have It?

What is Executive Presence and do you have it? I always find it interesting how some people have a “wow” factor. This person captivates an audience with little effort. What is it and is it possible to learn? First things first: Executive presence is a collective based on three major factors: appearance, communication and behavior.  Can executive presence be learned? The experts say absolutely.


  1. First Impression – Studies show it takes a quick 7 seconds to make a first impression. Your overall look will be the first impression to your boss, peers and clients.

Executive Presence: Do you have it?

  1. Body Language – Strong body language covers everything from your smile to a firm handshake. Keep your shoulders back, stand tall and make eye contact.
  1. Communication Skills – Strong communication skills are critical.
    • Speak up. Project your voice loud enough for others to hear and speak with confidence.
    • Listen. Be a good listener.  If you are unsure of what is being asked, repeat it back in your own words. “What I think you’re asking me is where do I see the company in one to three years. Is that right?”
    • Be authentic. At the end of the day, be yourself.  Your core values will shine through.
    • Speak passionately and with conviction. Be confident and speak clearly.  Stay away from filler words — “um, uh, so and like”.
    • Stay poised during conflict. Demonstrate reason and calmness under fire.
    • Be open to feedback. There is always room to grow. There is a teachable moment in every situation.

John Beeson, principal of management consulting firm Beeson Consulting, says executive presence can be developed “if you have a baseline of self-confidence and a willingness to deal with unpredictable situations” that come with executive leadership responsibilities.

  1. Dress to Impress – Ever heard the saying, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have?” Is your overall look polished? Your overall look goes past your clothes and shoes. It includes your hair, skin, makeup, jewelry and nails.
  1. Workplace behavior – Executive presence goes beyond knowledge and experience. A woman with executive presence has great vision and motivates others. She has a positive attitude that is infectious. She is passionate with her vision and can easily influence others.

These tips can help you develop and strengthen your executive presence. Reflection and practice are key takeaways. Whether you are in the boardroom or the classroom, executive presence matters.

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1 Comment

  1. Pamela
    March 2, 2017 / 4:16 pm

    Excellent points. It reminds me that a good presentation means everything, but also being yourself is very genuine and will appear that way to your audience

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