Executive presence refers to one’s ability to look and act like an executive or a leader. Think of an actor auditioning for the leading role in a movie– he has to look like and act like the character in order to be credible and convince the director. Even if you are not an executive today, this is an important skill to master.
“Executive presence” is a broad term that includes your body language, personal appearance and dress, your mannerisms and gestures, the way you speak and the way you shake hands when greeting someone. If you are not convinced that having an executive presence is important, you should consider that companies such as Intel and Morgan Stanley have launched training programs focused on these skills for their employees. And these days, large companies don’t invest money in teaching their employees skills unless it is important.
Executive coaches can be helpful by providing a non-biased assessment of your executive presence and methods to improve these skills. Start by observing your co-workers, managers and other business leaders in your organization. Can you identify a few people with an executive presence that you admire and want to imitate?
Read “How to Look and Act Like a Leader” by Joann S. Lublin on the WSJ.com for additional resources.