I’ve completed thousands of talent calibrations and talent reviews in my years as a talent leader for organizations. One common theme that comes up year after year regardless of leveling in the organization is the idea of having a good professional or executive presence.
Leaders are right, having an authentic professional presence can help you stand out, build a stronger network, accelerate projects, and accelerate career growth. Here are some tips to help you dial in your executive presence in the work that you do.
I think that this is the most important thing to remember for yourself as you work to strengthen this skill in your own leadership toolkit or as you are coaching others through this topic. Just because you have room for growth here doesn’t mean that you need to become someone you are not.
If you try to push your professional presence outside of your identity – coming into a room or conversation that doesn’t match your personality, it will fall flat with others. They’ll see your efforts as fake or inauthentic.
Authenticity doesn’t mean that you need to change how you speak and present yourself. It’s adapting to the level of the room, position, or need while being true to who is in the process.
You can find a deeper dive into the importance of being authentic at our previous show Be Yourself (Show 127)
Consistency means being reliable and dependable across all channels of communication. It also means delivering on your promises and following through on your commitments. Related to authenticity; are you one as one way while “on stage” and totally different when you interact with others? Inconsistency can also show up in how you communicate. Are you a great presenter or coach, but your emails are off-putting? Do you come across as confident and an expert in written communication, but unsure of yourself in difficult conversations?
Inconsistency can come from any number of areas and forms of communication and interactions. Check with your leaders, peers, and those on your team to get feedback on how consistent you are.
Hold their engagement
One of the secrets to good executive presence is the ability to grab, and keep someone’s attention and engagement. It means having something valuable and relevant to say or offer. You need to be able to communicate your message clearly and persuasively. It’s very important that you know your audience, your purpose, and your value proposition.
You can also hold someone’s engagement by leveraging data-driven storytelling and using different channels, mediums, and illustrations to reach your audience. Break up how you communicate to keep things fresh for the audience. Also remember where your audience is coming from and their perspective and knowledge, that will help you cater your message in a way that connects with them.
Areas to consider as you adjust to dial in your professional presence
- Language: What words are you using as you communicate with others? Are there colloquials that you should avoid or industry speak that you need to stay away from or gravitate towards?
- Your physical appearance: Do you look the part? In live settings, do you match what the expected audience is or are you over or under-dressed? For virtual environments is your lighting good and background complimentary?
- Reading the temperature of the room: Having a good read on the room is vastly important as you strengthen your professional presence. Is the group lively or serious? How heavy of a topic or message are you trying to convey?
Be open to feedback as you continue to strengthen your professional presence. You’ll be a more effective leader and communicator as you interact with others.
Make a better tomorrow.