Coaching Information


What Is Executive Presence?


Often our clients refer someone to us for Executive Coaching with a glowing description such as "This is one of our most valued and brilliant employees ?. But ?. he or she needs "Executive Presence", or as one client said "He's so low-key he's invisible. Give him "Executive Swagger".

Yet when asked to explain what they mean, their responses remind me of the Supreme Court's comments on pornography - - that it's difficult to define, but you'll know it when you see it.

From our successful interviews and coaching of hundreds of executives, here are some common traits of those who do project Executive Presence: They radiate confidence, poise and authority; they know how to connect with others; and, most important, they build on their own strengths and are genuine.

Following is a 5-point plan to help you build on YOUR strengths so that you project an impression of Executive Presence that matches your abilities:

1. Use your body language and visual image to convey confidence

Stand and walk tall
Use steady eye contact, not eye-darting
Give a crisp handshake, not a dead fish
Lean forward and be engaged in meetings. Don't fidget or play with your palm pilot
Keep gestures subdued
Be perfectly groomed and crisp

2. Develop an authoritative voice

Use a low-pitched voice
Place your voice down at the end of a sentence
Speak with energy
Eliminate a monotone and verbal distractions such as "um" and "basically"
Slow down your speaking rate. Have the confidence to pause.

3. Avoid tentative language such as

"I think ... "; "I guess ... "; "kind of ... "; "maybe ... "
"I'm not sure if you'll like this, but ... "

4. Keep your message simple and clear

Cut to the chase
Think first, then talk. Don't share your internal debate with others
Talk big picture, not details

5. Connect with others

Become aware of your effect on others by observing and responding to their body language
Listen more than you talk. Let others know that you value their opinion
Take advantage of "hallway conversations" to connect informally

Roberta Prescott

Roberta Prescott heads The Prescott Group, a communication firm specializing in Executive Development. Visit our web site (http://www.theprescottgroup.com) for more information about our Communication Programs and Executive Coaching Service.


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