Executive Presence: What is it? Why is it important?

Mar 22, 2018 Tips

Sound leadership requires more than knowing how to do your job, it involves the following:

  • Exhibiting confidence and exuding authenticity.
  • Speaking with conviction and communicating clearly.
  • Commanding attention.
  • Maintaining a professional appearance.
  • Engaging with others.
  • Controlling your emotions and recognizing the emotions in others.
  • Actively listening, asking questions, and offering input.

In essence, executive presence is critical for leadership success.

Executive presence means different things to different people. This is the most helpful, albeit broad, definition we’ve found to date: Executive presence is the ability of a leader to engage, align, inspire, and move people to act.

And it involves three things:

  • How you look. It’s human nature to form an impression of others within seconds of meeting. Appearance matters. In fact, Dr. Albert Mehrabian, professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA, noted that communication can be broken down into three different components: words, tone of voice, and body language... and that body language, what we see, accounts for more than half of how one is perceived.
  • How you act. Great leaders are confident, and they show it. Their bodies are relaxed. Their gestures are meaningful. Their approach is authentic, and their tone is engaging. These traits create an image of credibility and trust.
  • How you communicate. The amount of information individuals are asked to digest and decipher daily is irrational. It can’t be done, at least not well. That means word choice is important. Messages must be organized, focused, and personalized to the audience.

Do you have executive presence? To enhance your presence, check out our Speak Up and Be Effective™ - Momentum program or consider Executive Coaching. Email Katherine ( to learn more or enroll. Take a look at our recommended reading below: 


Epstein, Audrey. What CEOs Can Do To Improve Their ‘Executive Presence’, Chief Executive, 16 Mar. 2018. Accessed 20 Mar. 2018.
Miller, Jennifer. Tips for Developing Your Executive Presence, The Economist. Accessed 20 Mar. 2018.
Noymer Levine, Beth. Executive Presence: How to be Taken More Seriously as a Leader, Forbes, 2 Jan. 2018. Accessed 20 Mar. 2018.
Sullivan, Jay. Leading With Executive Presence: What Can We Learn From The Soldier And The Saint?, Forbes, 15 Mar. 2018. Accessed 20 Mar. 2018.



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