Executive Presence is a Hot Topic in the Workplace
I have been giving speeches and presentations for over 13 years for corporations, associations, non-profit organizations and all kinds of networking groups. There are some topics that have always been appealing to audiences such as networking, dealing with challenging behavior, and finding work that is gratifying. I also speak about communication, time management, managing and leading people, managing one’s career and executive presence.
Interestingly, companies and organizations are currently extremely interested in helping their employees and members develop executive presence. What does this really mean?
Well, last night I gave a brief presentation to about 35 people for Women In the Boardroom (www.womenintheboardroom.com) , a great organization founded and run by Sheila Ronning at the beautiful Carlisle showroom (www.carlislecollection.com) in New York City where Leena Gurevich is the showroom manager.
I shared my perspective of what executive presence entails and then we opened it up to questions. Here’s what I think executive presence is:
- Enhance your communication skills – connect with everyone you interact with, listen more effectively, and be persuasive.
- Confidence and poise – possess the capacity to believe in yourself and your choices and to view yourself and your situation realistically with a willingness to take risks.
- Be a positive role model – help, mentor and coach others and realize that as you move along in your career, people are always watching and evaluating you.
- Understand political savvy – network inside and outside your organization, thoughtfully assess your stakeholders – that is everyone who impacts your career, and strategically develop support for your ideas and projects.
- Adhere to a code of conduct and ethics – not only being aware of “right and wrong” behavior but also staying true to your core values and aligning your behavior to these.
- Maintain a positive attitude – research shows that optimists are healthier, happier and more successful and it’s easier for them to build healthy relationships than it is for negative people.
- Respect others – give genuine recognition and appreciation, be kind to others, avoid blaming or judging others, focus on collaborating instead of resisting, and appreciate differences and be curious about other people’s experiences.
- Image – stay in tune with your psychological and physical presence. This involves not only the clothes you wear, but your demeanor, speech patterns and tone and your interpersonal skills. We were in a clothing showroom so naturally the topic of hair and shoes came up!
The participants asked so many interesting and thoughtful questions about my opinion of the differences between men and women, what missteps I think women may take as they progress in their career and how can someone exhibit integrity.
This post is longer than I originally intended so I will end this with one final thought which comes from one of the questions I was asked last night. What do I suggest someone does next after reading all of this information? Here’s my answer: pick just one thing that you have received feedback about or simply would like to improve and work on it. Practice it, read about it, find a mentor or coach and decide to improve.