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The Art of Executive Presence

In Featured by Letts Consult

Gail Letts recently invited me to participate in a webinar as a panelist to discuss the traits of executive presence.  The goal was to help participants (women from all over the globe) start on their own path to figure out how to acquire and hone their own executive presence. Upon invitation, I froze.  I questioned Gail.  “Why in the world do you think I have enough executive presence to help others?”

Gail responded, “It’s an art.  Each of us have developed our own executive presence based on personal and professional experiences.  There are common ‘traits’ of executive presence, but just share your own story of your journey.” 

Common “Traits” of Executive Presence

SophisticationPolishDecisivenessAuthenticity
Ability to Read a RoomSense of HumorVisionCharisma
Emotional IntelligenceGrace Under FireConfidenceCommand of the Room

Upon further reading and research, I’ve come to the conclusion that there are many approaches and opinions as to how to develop your executive presence.  My personal approach however, is clear and Gail was right.  It’s an art. By tapping into my own experiences as a creative, a director, a single mother, a business owner, a mentor and being confident enough to share my story, I can help others relate and connect on a deeper level.  That’s executive presence.

Former actresses turned executive coaches, Kathy Lubar and Belle Linda Halpern, define executive presence in their book, Leadership Presence: Dramatic Techniques to Reach Out, Motivate, and Inspire. Lubar and Halpern borrow from the actor’s toolkit and show that leadership presence is about effectively tapping into your own experiences and, through storytelling, help others relate to you and therefore connect with you on a deeper level.

“Leadership Presence is the ability to connect authentically with the thoughts and feelings of others, in order to motivate them and inspire them towards a desired outcome.”

Share your story.  Hone your craft.  Lead by experience.

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