8 Tips to Increase Your Executive Presence and Expand Your Influence

Cambridge economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett states that executive presence is “an amalgam of qualities that telegraphs that you are in charge or deserve to be.” For leaders in the entrepreneurial world, executive presence is wanted and needed.

Your executive presence determines whether you gain access to an opportunity, a promotion to a critical role, or an assignment to a high-visibility project. Luckily, you don’t have to be born with executive presence. It’s something you can learn and earn. 

Here are 8 skills, traits, and attitudes that will boost your executive presence and hone your credibility and career success.

1. Prepare you conversations              
An admirable leader effortlessly glides from a topic to another without losing the audience’s attention. According to Hewitt, communication is paramount to executive presence as it accounts for 28% of your entrepreneurial image. Therefore, try to experiment with different topics of conversation.   

2. Express yourself clearly  
Clear, well-structured responses are guaranteed to persuade and influence in any work setting. According to bestselling author Dianna Booher, a suitable format includes an overview of one’s opinion or answer, factual arguments to support the view, some illustrations and examples, and most importantly, a recap of one’s explanation or opinion in ONE sentence.  

3. Summarise, summarise, summarise!  
Babbling on a business plan or a marketing strategy for hours is daunting and complicated. Spare yourself some effort to succinctly summarise your writings, presentations, and conversations into concise, substantial inputs.  

4. Demonstrate confident body language.  
Your body language can speak volumes before you’ve said a single word. Check it out, then begin to talk. Do you speak with confidence? Can you command the room? How about a bit of levity? Do you have good posture? Do you know when to add humour? Can you read a room? These skills are essential to an admirable executive presence.  

5. Speak with energy  
A projected, energetic voice grabs attention and carries authority. Experiment with your voice to avoid a monotonous delivery. Learn about volume, pacing, pitch, articulation, inflexion, pauses, and tone to instil credibility and connection. A lower voice connotates assertiveness and expertise. Avoid speaking in a high pitch or allowing world-fillers (Uhm, like so, uh, etc.) to creep in and reveal your nervousness.  

6. Take a stand and commit to your values.  
Well-balanced and productive conversations require strong values, clear intentions, and ambitious goals. Failing to align with your values as an entrepreneur will lead to inevitable trouble. So, embrace your values, avoid passivity, and be consistent with what you say and do.   

7. Think strategically  
Strategic thinking sets you apart from the crowd.  Focus on why or why not when new opportunities arise. Pay attention to future consequences without rushing to judgment. Entrepreneurs with excellent executive presence practice listening and observing before assessing information.  

8. Display your lightheartedness  
Lightheartedness is the language of leadership and confidence. Be authentic, spontaneous, and welcoming.  Welcome witticisms from others, and don’t shy away from adding some humour to your agenda. Be the connector or liaison to help other people get things done together. With such a habit, you’ll become known as the person “who knows everyone” and whom “everybody knows.”  

Executive presence opens doors to the executive suite. That’s why we often hear that you need it to close a deal or inspire change. These habits, skills, traits, and attitudes will put you on the path to a solid executive presence that, in turn, expands your influence and instils positive change in your workplace.

Entrepreneurship courses, skills training and mentorship provide valuable support in developing executive presence skills and entrepreneurial skills for entrepreneurs. At Creo Incubator, we offer a range of courses and programmes designed to help entrepreneurs like you grow and succeed.

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