Executive Presence: 3 tips to get started

Executive Presence‘s key drivers
February 11, 2019
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A leader is easily identifiable, in a boardroom and elsewhere. The question to be asked is, what makes him easy to distinguish from others? The answer: Executive presence.

Executive presence is a blend of attitude and skills that, when combined, demonstrates the judgment to make the right decisions. There are three drivers to executive presence: gravitas, executive communication, and appearance.

As per a study conducted in 2012 by The Center for Talent Innovation executive presence is the link between merit and success. Henceforth, it is a fundamental building block for success.

To know more about executive presence and its drivers, refer to the previous article.

Executive presence is a skill that has to be nurtured and built. Here are 3 tips that would help you improve your executive presence:

Be an Emperor
Built in the 673 BC by Confucius, a Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher, emperor stance is a body movement by which people establish superiority. The intent was to train the young Chinese princes and princesses to have a more powerful posture and hence, look dominant.
There are three parts to emperor stance: while standing, while sitting and while walking.

  • Emperor stance while Standing:
    Stand straight. While this may seem obvious and undemanding, nevertheless, people rarely stand tall and straight. Usually, there is a slight stoop on the shoulder or a bend down posture.Rotate your neck such that there is a slight stretch on your upper spinal cord. Bring your neck back. Stand straight and tall. This prevents people from stooping. This exercise allows the spinal cord to straightened, and bring people to their actual height. It also allows the shoulder muscles to straighten. With feet slightly apart, almost to the width of your waist, adjust your weight on the balls of your feet. Balls of feet is the slight rising immediately behind the toes. To feel them bounce up on the feet or try springing up and down a few times. Athletes run from this position. Maintain this posture. This is the emperor stance while standing. It allows a person to feel energetic and alert. It is one of the way in which one can make a strong physical presence.One of the frequent mistakes that people make while standing is that they take a strong object’s support, a wall or a table. Or shift the weight of the entire body to one leg, standing on one hip. In addition, they keep shifting the body weight between the two hips. This degrades the presence significantly.
  • Emperor stance while sitting:
    Like the emperor owns his throne, emperor stance while sitting is to own the chair, occupy the chair fully and comfortably. Relax your shoulder and sit straight. Use the armrest correctly while putting your feet firmly onto the ground, slightly apart. This gives an attentive and alert look, and makes the person more in control of self in a situation.Often when people sit down, they tend to lose control of their bodies. They either slide slowly down in the chair or lean towards one side or even forward in the chair for better support. This again disfigures the body significantly and consequently reduces the executive presence.
  • Emperor stance while walking:
    An emperor takes his time. He is never rushed. People often tend to rush into conversations. They start their conversation while walking and therefore, many a times, fail to make the impact they intended to make in the first place.Emperor stance while walking is to avoid speaking. Relax your shoulders and keep them back. Stand tall and straight. Level your hips with the knees pointing forward. While walking use the heels of your feet first and then roll the pressure towards the balls of your feet.

Take a two second pause before speaking

Majority of people cannot wait for their turn to speak. As a result they end up interrupting the person with whom they are having the conversation, in between. Two seconds is an inward breath. Do not speak while taking the inward breath. Speak while exhaling. Take this time to collect and process thoughts. In addition, it would help avoid the risk of interrupting the person.

The two seconds would be enough time to consider and give a thought to the words of the other person. This would make the other person feel more valuable as well as help in avoiding conflicts due to misunderstandings.

Dress for the role you have

Professional image matters. It is considerably important if you want to be taken seriously as a leader or even as a candidate for the job for a leader. According to Sylvia Ann Hewlett from Center for Talent Innovation these five top aspects of appearance:

  • Being polished and groomed: 35% importance for women, 38% for men
  • Physically attractive, fit, slim: 19% for women, 16% for men
  • Simple, stylish clothes that position you for your next job: 12% for women, 13% for men
  • Being tall: 6% importance for women, 15% for men
  • Being youthful and vigorous: 6% for women, 4% for men

In addition people start doubting a person’s work ethic if he appears to be too casual or unkempt. With these three simple steps, one can enhance their executive and therefore, be more successful in their place of work!

Greenlatte helps build skills of executive presence systemically. To know more it, call us at +91 98190 48886 or eMail us at vivekslaria@greenlatte.co.in

Swarnima Gusain is a writer at Greenlatte. She is an aspiring law and French student.

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