What is Executive Presence? What is the “it”?

In the February 9th edition of Chief Learning Officer magazine they posed this question about Executive Presence.  As a leadership development and communications expert, I am often asked about the mysterious Executive Presence skill set.  Leaders, and potential ones, are always confused when their manager or HR manager sputter out the words “Executive Presence” as a development need.  They ask, “Is it an image thing?”, “Do I need to be a better presenter?”, “What does it mean?” and most often, “How do I get better?”

I believe that Executive Presence is all about confidence.  When people have confidence, their body language and verbal language support it. They stand straight with their head held high. They look people in the eyes, when they speak to them. They use confident language avoiding words like, “maybe” and “hopefully”. They take pride in their appearance. They walk into a room and you notice them right away. You know what it looks like when you see it, but for most, it is difficult to describe.

For me, Executive Presence = Confidence. You may be asking yourself, is confidence something that you’re born with or something that can be developed? Even though it may be easier for some than others, I believe that with the help of a good coach, it is something that anyone can achieve!


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