So what's the big deal about executive presence?
The concept of “executive presence” is getting quite a lot of chatter around it as a development for leaders getting to the next rung. The problem is that most people don’t even know what the heck it is but rather it falls into the “I’ll know it when I see it “ category. What is clear is that the more senior you get the more it matters.
The Centre for Talent Innovation uses a good model, backed by research, that describes Executive Presence as Gravitas, Communication and Appearance:
- Gravitas – the ability to own the room, to exude credibility and confidence
- Communication – to be crisp when necessary, to read a room and shift your style to the audience
- Appearance – to look the part.
In our workshops we go to work on what each workshop participant can do to develop each of these characteristics in themselves, and thereby to build their own Executive Presence.
A quick example:
There was a young woman present at a recent workshop who had recently gotten her PhD covering a topic that would have massive interest to the firm. Yet she was reluctant to even change her sign off to ‘Dr’! Let alone leverage it in the fear that she was could be perceived as a show off. By doing the exercise and supported by the group she gained the courage to step into her due title and committed to run a workshop for the firm next year.
As difficult as Executive Presence may be to define it’s likely to be a key factor in progression to the very top jobs – particularly for women.