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What Is Executive Presence in Leadership & How To Develop It

The Highrise Team
October 25, 2022
An executive talking about presence in leadership
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The abilities and actions that make up a person's executive presence are complementary. If you want to be a leader, it's because you want to lead, make a difference, encourage people to act and perform better, be at the helm of an organization, have an influence, and perhaps even leave a legacy.

We typically equate leadership with one's position in society and often equate leadership with specific qualities and talents. However, having a growth mindset allows you the capacity to inspire people to follow your lead, no matter what rank or position you may have.

While many know how crucial executive presence is, few have a straightforward method of developing executive presence. Impressing decision-makers may mean you need a stronger executive presence. To be a better leader professionally, you need to take on more responsibility personally.

We will review the essential character traits of senior executives and show you how executive presence coaching can help you develop these traits in yourself.

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What Is Executive Presence? 

Research says that executive presence is a product of three key factors: interpersonal skills, professional demeanor, and technical expertise.

Professional Effect

Leaders who exude professional affect understand that bringing about meaningful change requires mastery of one's emotional and behavioral responses to challenging situations.

They command respect and inspire confidence by projecting competence, trustworthiness, and integrity. The way you present yourself as an executive reflects the value you place on your knowledge, experience, and expertise.

Interpersonal Aptitudes

Connecting with and relating to other people is an essential skill. Communication is an integral component of interpersonal aptitude and goes a long way toward inspiring confidence.

Emotional intelligence is a key factor in interpersonal aptitude. It's essential to be aware of your emotions, operate effectively, and stay calm in high-stress situations. Greater awareness and the ability to sense emotions while attending meetings and conferences are key components of effective communication and interpersonal aptitude. 

Reading people and understanding their feelings and motives is essential for successful leadership.

Technical Competence

Technical competence is the ability to achieve organizational objectives. You can learn technical competence through education and experience. The technical competencies of a good leader include the following:

  • The ability to gather information and make decisions based on this information
  • The ability to manage resources effectively

Leadership or executive presence reflects an authentic feeling of quiet confidence, the ability to connect with others on a deep level, and inspires other people to take constructive action.

An executive talking about presence in leadership to an employee

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How To Develop Executive Presence

Executive presence development is essentially a personal journey of transformation that combines the development of your leadership skills.

Improving your leadership skills and establishing a strong executive presence requires a process of self-transformation that includes your identity, your leadership style, and the style of leader you aspire to be.

Your reputation and character can take you far, but signature-style leaders need a plan to develop executive presence.

Here are four actions to take to begin building your executive presence.

1. Articulate a Clear Vision

A leader has to know where they are going and be able to articulate that direction in a way that inspires others working with them. Both a well-articulated vision and a broad perspective are necessary.

Doing this facilitates direct leadership presence and interaction with your coworkers. Communicate your point clearly and confidently using straightforward language.

It may help to make a video of yourself to practice your public speaking. Take some time to review it and make notes about how you can improve. Then, practice over and over until it feels natural to you.

2. Hone Your Communication Skills

The ability to communicate is essential for building your executive presence. Therefore, you must convey your ideas effectively and persuasively, both verbally and in written form.

Intentionally practice behavior while developing executive presence. When communicating with others, focus on speaking slowly but not too slowly; avoid speaking quickly or mumbling through your words so they are hard to understand. 

Make sure you speak clearly, with a moderate volume that allows you to be heard without straining. Make eye contact with those listening, and avoid looking at notes while speaking.

3. Seek Feedback From a Mentor

Aspiring for a leadership position requires presenting oneself as someone people can count on and respect.

Because of this, getting feedback from a trusted mentor or executive coach who observes you and can help you see how people perceive you is crucial. Use their advice to realistically assess where your leadership qualities are and set goals for future growth and development of your executive presence.

4. Observe Leadership in Action

You can learn a lot if you watch someone with a good executive presence. For example, you might notice how senior leaders walk into a room, how they address people there, and what they say to them. You might also see their body language, eye contact, tone of voice, and overall demeanor.

Watch how they engage with people around them, particularly how they pause and, at times, do more active listening than speaking.

Great leaders define strong executive presence when they show others they are essential to them and their opinions matter.

Pay attention to how someone who exudes authority carries themselves and the body language they use. You'll find that senior leaders pay close attention and ask insightful questions of the speaker at hand.

5. Executive Presence Training

An executive leadership coach can help you develop your leadership presence. Training in executive presence incorporates formal instruction, the opportunity for experimentation, and peer learning.

Executive presence coaching instructs about the necessity of ongoing improvement and development in your leadership role through executive presence training.

As a leader, executive presence training helps you:

  • Understand your part in establishing and preserving the corporate culture.
  • Learn how to inspire others and motivate them to work with you on achieving company goals.
  • Effectively engage in one-on-one meetings, group discussions, conference calls, and other forms of communication.
  • Develop skills needed to deliver presentations that are clear and concise—and that get results!

Training in executive presence can also assist executives in boosting organizational effectiveness.

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Benefits of a Strong Executive Presence

High-performing organizations (HPOs) place a high value on developing executive leadership among their employees. Most HPOs prioritize executive leadership competencies over their peers, especially if they communicate effectively.

There are six key benefits of a strong executive presence:

  1. Fosters a more positive work environment
  2. Boosts organization effectiveness
  3. Facilitates team growth
  4. Improves client relationships
  5. Grows future leaders
  6. Pinpoints leadership candidates

These benefits enhance individual and organizational performance, allowing your company to compete more effectively in the marketplace. Strong executive presence is a crucial competency for great leaders at every level of an organization. 

Everyone benefits from a strong executive presence, from CEOs to first-line supervisors.

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Executive Presence Skills

Executive presence is a set of skills that allow you to command the room and influence others. It's an essential trait for leaders, but it's also something they can learn and improve with practice. Here are four skills people with high executive presence often possess.


Develop the self-awareness to be confident in your leadership capabilities. Then, learn about communicating that confidence. Being aggressive does not contribute to building team confidence. It's best for everyone when their leaders are humble and serious about their responsibilities.

Great leaders demonstrate commitment to the direction of the goals of the project. They use a calm and respectful communication approach.

Always keep your voice in mind while communicating with your staff members to ensure your communication is neutral.

Cultivating your sense of style and visual appearance communicates important messages without saying a word. Appearance may seem somewhat superficial, but it may also boost your self-esteem and command the attention of others around you.

Communication Skills

One of the fundamentals of leadership, and a significant component of executive presence, is having excellent communication abilities.

Aspiring leaders effectively, succinctly, and persuasively communicate the thoughts necessary to accomplish their objectives.

Always prepare what you want to say in advance if you need to give a speech, enabling you to convey your point without ambiguity. Most people don't naturally have a gift for public speaking, but it can be learned and practiced.

When speaking, adopt a neutral tone, and invite your colleagues to join the conversation. Inclusive leadership helps your coworkers feel included and heard.

As you talk, monitor the tone in the room to ensure they hear you. Leadership material also practices good listening skills, inspiring confidence and high emotional intelligence.

And take as much time as required to address their concerns and inquiries.


When you remain composed under pressure, you reassure your colleagues and assist them in doing the same.

It also conveys your competence to others and fosters trust among coworkers, clients, or consumers.

You can think more clearly and move more quickly to identify solutions if you maintain your composure.


Charisma naturally draws people without engaging in organizational politics. People are drawn to charismatic leaders and will follow them without being asked to do so.

Cultivating charisma is not necessarily an innate skill but something you may develop through practice. Become a more magnetic leader by honing your capacity for empathy and listening.

Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

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Final Thoughts

Executive presence training can be a valuable tool to help you gain the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to be an effective leader. 

The bottom line is that executive presence training is a good investment for you and a great way to enhance your company culture, boost productivity, and better understand your own executive presence.

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