In our last post we shared the basic qualities you should strive for to enhance your executive presence. Now let’s go over the actual steps you can take to get into action now!
- Focus on Social Intelligence
Social intelligence is an awareness of the image you convey to others. Those who are mastering social intelligence are aware of how their own behaviors affect the emotions, behavior and reactions of others. You are more likely to gain favor, loyalty and cooperation from individuals who experience positive emotions from interacting with you, no matter how brief.
- Define Your Brand
Just as you tend to make decisions based on brand reputation from the type of soap you select to the restaurant where you choose to dine, corporate decision-makers do the same. They consider the professional brand of an individual when making promotion decisions.Your brand is the impression that comes to mind when people see you, hear of you, or think about you. Whether intentional or not you have developed your brand with colleagues, bosses, direct reports, clients, and suppliers. Your career advancement is dependent on you having developed a brand of confidence, collaboration, capability and reliability. What does the brand you have already developed convey about you? Would you choose you for a promotion opportunity?
If you determine your brand needs adjustment, begin immediately. Identify specific changes in attitude, behavior, work ethic, and energy that will strengthen your brand and reinforce your executive presence.
The first rule of branding is to be proactive in controlling everything about the way others perceive you. When considering career advancement your intention should be to present the best you and to separate yourself from those who may have the same or similar career skills. Creating an authentic brand that communicates your brilliance will:
- Build trust and credibility
- Communicate who you are
- Position you for opportunities
- Demonstrate expert status
- Increase your marketability
- Differentiate you from the competition
- Position you to be able to influence
- Win the support of others who will support your goals
- Be Very Aware of First Impressions
Your physical appearance is your initial introduction in any situation. People make an early judgment about you based on your visual cues, what they see. Do not make your appearance a distraction. People are more likely to hear your thoughts, ideas and insights when there is an absence of visual distractions.The manner in which you choose to dress will communicate how you feel about yourself and your audience. In order to create a powerful visual presence, your attire must make you feel confident. Conversely you will feel confident with an ability to influence if you dress accordingly. Take cues from the style of other successful executives in and outside of your place of work, and dress for the career level you seek to attain. Wear colors that complement your features, and always keep accessories simple. Seek the advice of an image consultant for guidance. Your confidence and ability to influence is affected by your attire. Invest some time and money to enhance your visual image. Your business image should reflect your abilities, values, goals, and career objective.
- Carry Yourself with Confidence
You must sit, stand, move, and gesture with purpose. You want to appear comfortable. Body language, posture, gestures, facial expressions, and movement convey energy and send signals about your confidence. Here are some things to consider about your own body language:
- Erect posture creates an impression of confidence and sets the stage for others to view you as a winner.
- When you enter a room, be mindful of your body language. Rather than convey uncertainty convey confidence.
- Slow down. Nervous, self-conscious people tend to speak quickly. Confident people pause not only to ensure clear and concise communication, but also to allow others time to hear every point being conveyed.
- Arrive early enough to greet as many individuals as possible before meetings begin.
- Smile and make eye contact. Successful and confident people make direct eye contact. A genuine smile encourages a friendly environment and sets the tone for collaboration.
- Develop Positive Relationships
It is always important to develop relationships and even more important to understand that trust is essential. It takes time and several interactions to build trust. Approach relationships as opportunities to be of service, help and add value to the life of another. Being willing to help can catapult your ability to influence and develop your reputation as a valuable resource. This will yield a more extensive network of individuals who will in turn be willing to support you. Change your perspective away from “What’s in it for me?” and think about “How can I serve others and add value?” Take an interest in others, and they will become interested in you.
To refine your executive presence, you should begin with self-awareness and discern the perception others have of you. Then take deliberate steps to develop an authentic executive presence of confidence, collaboration and capability. Your plan should include development of skills and behaviors that you will deliberately demonstrate until they become natural.