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Building Executive Presence for Women in Leadership Roles: Confidence Redefined

  • 19th Oct'23

In today's competitive corporate world, executive presence is essential for women striving for leadership posts. It includes the capacity to command attention, show confidence, and speak successfully in a variety of professional settings. Many sources are available both online and offline to assist women in establishing and improving their executive presence. In this post, we will look at the importance of executive presence and offer practical advice to help women advance in executive roles.


What is executive presence?

Executive presence is a multifaceted term that incorporates the skills and attributes required for individuals to project confidence, credibility, and influence in executive or leadership jobs. It extends beyond appearance and includes communication skills, composure, self-assurance, and the capacity to connect with others truly.


The importance of building executive presence for women in leadership roles

Executive presence is especially important for women in leadership positions, as it can help them overcome gender preconceptions, achieve prominence, and inspire others. Women with great executive presence are more likely to be acknowledged for their skills, have their views heard, and advance in their jobs. It gives women the power to command attention, handle challenging circumstances, and leave a lasting impression on their professional endeavors. 

Here are 8 tips to establish your executive presence at work.

1. Accept your individuality

Master your mindset. Do not go into meetings questioning your worth. Prepare ahead of time; establish your distinct perspective based on your own hard-won experiences. Then walk in, knowing you are a valuable asset. This company would suffer a significant loss if you did not exist, and you are aware of this.


2. Acknowledge who you are

Perfect your body language. Poor nonverbal communication can ruin an otherwise great pitch. Do not slouch. Stand tall and poised. Breathe normally, slowly, and deeply. Make eye contact with people to engage them. Keep your hand motions deliberate and calm to promote trust. You must have the self-belief that you can handle any circumstance.


3. Before speaking, weigh your options.

Most people blather on without stopping to consider whether what they are saying makes sense or is helpful. Take out the preface and the rambling dribble. Take into account your ultimate objectives and choose your words with care to meet your needs. Do not rush the message's delivery. Take your time, be cautious, and say far less than you believe is necessary.


4. Take a deep breath

Deep belly breaths are recommended both before and throughout your presentation. This will relax you, improve your composure, and slow your racing mind. Also, sigh before entering any high-pressure situation. It works because letting out a deep, gut-felt sigh allows you to release any pent-up tensions. When you sigh away stress, you temporarily relieve both physical and emotional repression. As you let go, your mind clears, your body relaxes, and you become more approachable.


5. Use the silence to your advantage

One should never undervalue the power of silence as a tool. But most of us find silence uncomfortable and feel compelled to fill it. When you dare to stop, you regain control because you are no longer the one making all the effort to advance a conversation. By playing a more detached role, you project the appearance of power.

A well-placed pause also gives the audience time to consider what you are saying. While doing so, you give yourself the chance to assess how your listeners are behaving. When you can appropriately alter your words and actions, you become an effective negotiator. 


6. Interact with your audience

You must communicate with and relate to others. Make sure the audience knows how much you value them. Asking questions, getting feedback, listening to what your audience has to say, deciphering their verbal and nonverbal cues, and choosing a response based on these intricate factors are all ways to achieve this. If you do this, you will emerge as an exceptional leader.


7. Establish boundaries

Recognize where the line should be drawn. You must set boundaries and refuse to appease others if you want to be taken seriously. You should, to some extent, stop caring what other people think because no one ever succeeds in life by wasting time on their unfavorable or damaging opinions. However, remain open to helpful feedback while blocking out the rest.


8. Apply your wit

Keep your sense of humor at all times. I frequently hear women say they are afraid to be humorous at senior levels out of concern that they will not be taken seriously. This could, however, backfire because, ironically, peers tend to take less seriously those who take themselves too seriously. The Bell Leadership Institute found that a strong work ethic and a sense of humor are the two qualities that leaders value most.

Your sense of humor is a reflection of your intelligence and wit. If you think you lack wit, you can learn it just like any other skill. Since people appreciate and respect humor when it is used appropriately, humor can also help to lower tension.

Executive presence is fundamentally a developing process of everyday emotional weight-lifting, a process of being your true self when it is easier and more enticing to follow the pack and hop on the bandwagon of mediocrity.


Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds achieve their careers and life aspirations. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members.

Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.


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