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The WOW Factor of Leadership: 5 Strategies for Building Your Executive Presence

Projecting confidence and decisiveness is essential to being a powerful and inspirational leader. Executive presence is that unmistakable command of the room and an attribute essential for moving up in your career.

Here are strategies for accessing and leveraging your executive presence:

  1. WOW the first impression – Your first impression is how people will remember you so ensure that initial impression is impactful. Proactively decide the impression you want to make in an initial interaction and act that way.
  2. Leverage your emotional awareness – Tune in your awareness to pick up clues of what others are feeling. Sharpening your emotional intelligence by honing your empathy meter will give you an edge.  It allows you to stand in another person’s shoes to know what someone is feeling and experiencing. Empathy makes you human and highly relatable.
  3. Make others feel safe – The key to great communication is when you easily adapt to different styles and allow divergent opinions to be vetted and heard.  Master creating an environment where others feel at ease and safe when you speak.
  4. Read the room – Become insatiably curious of other’s positions and opinions before gathering together.  Your ability to know what people are thinking and feeling allows you to more keenly pick up verbal and non-verbal cues in the room.
  5. Focus on your communication – When you demonstrate strong executive presence your language is clear and concise. Buffer language (uhms or well or hummm) and speech detractors (speaking negatively or with doubt in your voice – sort of, kind of, just) will kill your credibility.  Ensuring clarity of message, conciseness and vocal emphasis will ensure you are talking with confidence, authority and leadership!

Executive presence might demonstrate self-assuredness, thought leadership and grace under pressure, and yet attitude is everything.  Having a positive approach shows a “can do” outlook of possibility.  And leading in such a rapidly changing environment, as the industry is in now, will take a leader who has a mix of transparency, heart, optimism, and certainty. 

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