You’ve probably heard “executive presence” thrown around like bad corporate buzzwords: “go-getter”, “open the kimono” and the classic “synergy”. While buzzwords make you feel as though you’re in an episode of Mad Men, executive presence is actually a trait that you can work on to be your best. Broadly speaking, the Financial Review notes “executive presence is the ability to consciously demonstrate a controlled and confident state in a way that naturally elicits admiration”. The best thing about executive presence is that it’s not hardwired into anyone’s character, it’s all about practice and self-reflection. Here’s how to nail that cool confidence in 3 steps with inspiration from Forbes:


  1. Reflect on your capabilities, and set reasonable goals. Knowing your capabilities, and working towards achievable goals shows confidence and drive to those around you. When people are motivated and kicking goals it’s encouraging.
  2. Understand how people receive you and actively listen to the ideas of those around you. Do you know if others find you confident? Do you command control and talk more in a room? It’s important to understand how your presence is experienced by those you want to inspire. Most importantly, you want to others to know that when they converse with you, you’re paying attention.
  3. Understand networking and politics in the workplace. Organisations have all different sorts of people with differing views, opinions, and beliefs. Creating relationships with a wide network of people and utilise those connections in productive directions shows leadership and authority.


Executive presence also benefits you when you’re not in the room. When an important opportunity arrives such as a promotion, you want to know that you’ve made a significant impact on the decision makers. “Faking it ‘til you make it” is no longer needed when you’ve got executive presence.


Written by: Jessica Hausheer