GOOD EXECUTIVE PRESENCE IS MORE THAN SKIN DEEP
When I tell people that I teach executives how to improve their executive presence, the typical reaction is, “Oh, I know what you do, you’re an image consultant.” Well, yes and no.
There is no question that image is important to good executive presence. As a matter of fact image is central to it, but it’s probably not the same “image” that you’re thinking about. That’s because the image created by good executive presence goes beyond surface traits. Its central focus is not about how you dress, wear your hair, or eat your lunch.
Although these things are important—good style and manners always are—they’re traits that are quite easily acquired. What is much harder to acquire, and takes up most of our executive presence development time, is how we engage with others, organize our thoughts, and express ourselves.
These latter things, which are the heart and soul of executive presence, are harder to acquire for two reasons. First, we grow up not thinking too much about how we come across to others and how we might consciously improve. We’ve learned (erroneous as it may be) that our expressive dimensions are a natural occurrence. We don’t need to spend much time thinking about them or learning how to better manage them.
Second, once we finally decide to improve how we interact with others as executives (our executive presence), we need to connect these improvements to who we are naturally. If this connection isn’t made, the “improvements” will appear as a veneer, causing us to be seen by others as lacking depth, not quite trustworthy, or being just a little bit phony.
In the tips that follow this one, we will explore the various expressive dimensions of executive presence, how they’re created, and how we connect them to who we are naturally. The next tip will look at candor, and how we create authentic expressions of it. Stay tuned.