Executive Presence: What is it and Why Does it Matter?

Susan S Freeman Blog

Executive PresenceExecutive Presence matters. It’s one of the key ingredients that determines whether you rise within an organizations’ ranks-or not. We know it when we see it. But what is it, exactly?

Executive Presence is a measure of image-determining whether you are “star material.” It’s authenticity; leading confidently, and being true to who you really are. It can be cultivated—it’s not about a “program” or “system,” because authenticity is a big part of it.

The Three Pillars of Executive Presence

In her 2014 landmark book on the topic, “Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success”, Sylvia Ann Hewlitt interviewed 4000 college-educated professionals, including 268 senior executives to find out what people look for when they evaluate an employees’ “EP”. They conducted 40 focus groups and interviewed many leaders. What they found may surprise you.

three pillars of executive presenceHer research showed that Executive Presence rests on three pillars; they are universal, they interact, and they’re not equally important:

  1. Gravitas is the core: 67% of executives surveyed said it really mattered
  2. Communication: 28% of executive said it mattered
  3. Appearance: only 5% said it really mattered as the most important aspect; however, this is a critical first filter. Blunders in this area can create serious trouble and stop you from being able to demonstrate the first two.

The good news on this is that “grooming and polish” were more important than “physical attractiveness” or “body type.”

How do you Gain Executive Presence?

You don’t have to be born with executive presence; you can develop it. I have dedicated much of my work to helping successful leaders achieve truly transformational results—shifts from the inside.

If this topic interests you, I invite you to join me on Wednesday, January 20 at 2 p.m. EST at the “Catapult Your Career Success Summit.” I’ll be interviewed by Linda Cattalan, Founder of the Summit on “Executive Presence: Do You Have a Resilience Roadmap?” Click here for your complimentary registration. Attendees will receive a free gift, as well as a bonus offer to obtain even more value from the learning.

Understanding how Executive Presence can impact our ability influence others, advance a cause, or move up within an organization. Make 2016 the year where you explore your own.

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