Everyone talks, but only a few say something of substance.
There is a lot of noise to compete against when showing up in the world. Being recognized and inspiring positive feedback is not merely a matter of appearance. Quite to the contrary, it is the blended result of purpose, self-expression, and the style we present to the world.
For example, just because you are a boss who holds a position of authority, it doesn’t mean that your people have automatically awarded you the power to lead and inspire them. Only making people resonate with you and your ideas will grant you the esteem, impact, and influence your title or role entails.
Executive Presence is about having a strong positive impact, yes. Still, the topic presents so many facets that I would need to write a book to discuss them all.
Because this is just a 600-word article, I’d like to concentrate on a shift in perspective and a few vital skills that move beyond appeal as the essence of Executive Presence.
Authenticity vs. manners
One frequent assumption is that Executive Presence means only to command attention, but this is only one outcome.
My acting teacher used to say that on stage—and more important than knowing your lines, projecting your voice, and expressing your intentions—actors had to be credible. They had to be present in the moment.
If actors did not ‘see’—if they did not have the scene in their heads and say their lines detached from the character’s feelings and intentions—the audience would disengage. Actors have to perform in a way that takes the audience with them.
I am not saying that showing Executive Presence means playing a theatrical character or pretending to be someone you are not—of course not.
However, whether you want to motivate someone to embrace new alternatives or to adapt their response in challenging times, you need to communicate with others from a place beyond sheer facts and words.
Keeping an eye out for manners and image style is relevant because that’s the first trait people will see. But paying attention to only this one aspect may be insufficient to make your message worth listening to.
So as to take people on board, you must communicate from a place of confidence and authenticity—that ought to come from a place within.
There are no small parts, only small actors
No matter the role you perform, the key to be acknowledged, listen to, and be taken seriously is to make your Presence less of a performance and more of an authentic connection.
Virtually everyone who wants to be seen, heard, and convey a coherent message can develop the skills to grow their Executive Presence. The good news is that this does not require an unmatched effort—instead, it calls for a shift in awareness.
Exhibiting Presence is much more than just visibility. It is a string connecting your purpose and your attention to the circumstances that, when finely tuned, spread your message beyond words.
Your audience, by default, wants to like you—everyone enjoys listening to an inspiring person!
To overcome fears, distractions, and show up as articulated and trustworthy, it is vital to realize your own emotions and empathize with others.
Being genuine and moving through the world with a sense of purpose is the first stepping stone to engaging others and developing an authentic Executive Presence that leaves a mark.
So, be curious, adjust your instrument to be in the moment, and, more than anything, dare to be yourself—people value original versions, not copycats.