5 Things You Need to Know about Executive Presence

5 Things You Need to Know about Executive Presence

January 11, 2023
Annette Maggi
Business SkillsCareer Development

We’ve all had the experience of working for or following leaders who we admire for their ability to lead and inspire, who seem to command the room the minute they step into it, and who always know just what to say at the right time. This combination of skills is what’s known as executive presence. Here are five things you need to know about executive presence.

#1: Executive Presence Defined. Everyone exudes a certain presence, based on the way we speak, write, and interact on a social level. But those with executive presence or gravitas have a natural air of confidence, expertise, decisiveness, and collectedness even under pressure. It’s clear to all that individuals who possess these skills are destined for greatness.

#2: Nature vs. Nurture. While it’s true that some people are naturally more charismatic and charming, the skills and elements associated with executive presence can definitely be learned. There’s not one perfect role model of executive presence and it can take different personality forms. It’s essential to be authentic to yourself while building the skills that build your executive presence.

#3: Communications Matter. Retail RDs know that how they present ideas, the level of detail provided, and the connection to corporate mission, values, and goals is essential in communications. But executive presence requires some additional finesse. While it’s tempting to want to fight all the battles and make yourself heard at all times, using silence strategically can be more effective. Reserve your voice for when you have something really important to say. Partner this skill with the ability to be concise. Tailoring your writing, presentations, and conversations to the most important points gets to the core of the issue and leaves room for others to ask questions and request more details. Finally, be comfortable in taking and voicing a stance, even on controversial issues.

#4: Calm Under Pressure. Retail is a fast-paced, intense, and sometimes stressful business, and the ability to present a calm, non-flustered demeanor is a key element of executive presence. When quick decisions are needed, the stakes are high, or things aren’t going according to plan, it’s essential to present yourself as composed and in control. No one wants to see their leaders lose patience or seem overwhelmed. Remaining calm and poised, even in stressful situations, inspires confidence in your capabilities.

#5: Physical Confidence. While the entire workforce has become more casual in dress and appearance, it’s essential to dress for the presence you want to exude and the role you want to have within your retailer and teams. Even casual dress can add to your executive presence when put together to showcase your brand. Nonverbals, such as looking people in the eye, standing tall, smiling warmly, and introducing yourself to new colleagues, all contribute to physical confidence and help you to command a room. Your goal is to ensure everyone’s first impression of you makes you stand out in their minds.