In today’s fast-paced business world, having a strong executive presence is more important than ever. As organizations continue to navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by technology, globalization, and changing consumer preferences, having leaders who can command attention, inspire trust, and lead effectively is critical for success.

But what exactly is “executive presence” and why is it so important in 2023? Clients ask me this question all the time, but I guarantee, you know it when you see it, and you know it when it’s not there. At its core, executive presence is the ability to project confidence, poise, competence, and authority in any situation. It involves not just what you say, but also how you say it, and how you carry yourself. It’s the combination of all of your communication skills—verbal and non-verbal—and your ability to inspire and lead others. Presence also has a supernatural spirit to it, often described as the “it factor”. 

One of the key benefits of having a strong executive presence is that it helps to build trust and credibility with colleagues, employees, stakeholders or any audience. When people see—and feel—that you are confident, competent, and in control, they are more likely to follow your lead, believe in your vision and consider you an expert. This is especially important in today’s fast-paced, ever-evolving business environment, where trust and credibility can be difficult to earn and maintain. In addition to those benefits, executive presence can help you climb the next rung on the career ladder. According to the Center for Talent Innovation, “Executive presence accounts for 26% of what it takes to get promoted.”

Here’s the good news: Presence is not a trait, it’s a skill that can be learned and cultivated. However, developing a strong executive presence is not easy. It takes practice, patience, and a commitment to continuous learning and improvement. One way to start is by paying attention to your communication style, body language, and overall demeanor. Are you speaking clearly and confidently? Are you making eye contact and using open body language? Are you projecting a sense of calm and control? These are all key elements of executive presence that you can work on over time, on your own, adopting tips from a professional or with support from a coach.

In addition to working on your own presence, you can also look for opportunities to observe and learn from other leaders in your organization or industry. Pay attention to the way they communicate, lead, and navigate difficult situations. Take note of what they do well and begin to emulate it.

The difference between yesterday’s leaders and tomorrow’s innovators is the initiative they take to develop their own authentic executive presence. When you learn to leverage that presence, you become a leader who others want to follow and, and equally important, the exact leader you want to be.

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Brunner Communications assists high-profile individuals and organizations in sharpening and developing top level business communication, executive presence, and public speaking skills. Our passionate team provides one-on-one executive business coaching, and runs specialized business workshops. Through customized training, clients learn the necessary skills to become great communicators and build a marketable reputation.

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