Ever wondered what makes individuals in leadership roles tick?  What sets them apart from the rest?

It is easy for one to find themselves stuck in a mid-management role, overlooked for promotion and never making the necessary traction needed to get to the next level.  Basically stuck!  This can be a confusing and frustrating and leads to self doubt and a loss in confidence for those who want more.

Odds are, you may need executive presence to turbo-charge your career to the next level.  Presence is extremely important.

Michelle Obama has executive presence. Oprah Winfrey has executive presence .  Why?

They have that confidence and charisma that allows them to connect with others.

In a survey of CIOs, conducted by Gartner, executive presence was second on the list of the top 20 leadership traits that make a difference.

There are seven identified traits that professionals with strong executive presence exhibit. And you don’t have to be the most sociable or vocal person in the room to demonstrate executive presence.

Confidence: One crucial aspect of executive presence is to communicate confidence both in what you say and how you say it. To appear confident, stand tall, make eye contact and have a good posture.  Ensure you only speak when making eye contact and manage your eye focus correctly when communicating with more than one person — one thought per person. Ensure your facial expression is in line with your message and that your voice has good volume and pace. And of course, you must look the part. Choose your wardrobe and accessories carefully.

Charisma: People who embody executive presence have a magnetic influence to draw others to them. This is often achieved through excellent listening skills and an ability to stay “woke.” As a such, the people with whom you are communicating know that you are completely focused on them, and not preoccupied by the many other things you could be doing at that moment.  You are present.

Composure: Self-awareness and understanding others are crucial components of executive presence. The skill to control your emotions, identify emotion in others, breath, stop, listen and manage your response to them intelligently is key.  Body language and verbal behaviors affect your image as a leader.

Connection: It’s important to engage others when communicating and make them feel at ease. The number one way to connect is to be conscious of your communication style challenges and how to read and adjust to the style of others.  There is a fire in everyone’s belly so know your audience, tap into that energy.

Credibility: Not only is knowing your stuff significant, but the language you choose to convey it will impact your credibility. Filler language such as “erm,” “uh,” and “you know what I mean” instantly detract from presence. Including words like “just,” “sort of,” “to be honest” and “this may not be a good idea but…” When someone with strong presence speaks, others stop, listen, pay attention, and there is no doubt of the conviction behind their words.

Clarity: For you to exude presence, the ability to clearly articulate yourself is fundamental. If your point is hazy, any expectation of commanding interest is lost.

Conciseness: Being longwinded kills presence. Just as it is important to know what you want to say, you must be able to do it clearly.  Study the individuals who inspire you when making a speech, look at their body language and how they carry themselves when they hold meetings and take a leaf out of their book.

Executive presence is possible. Even if you are nervous, just fake it!