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Executive presence, trust, probity and impact.

leonsergent communications - Prise de parole en public/Public Speaking

We have been talking about presence and executive presence for many years. Much like leadership or charisma, it is easy to acknowledge its presence or lack thereof, but more difficult to provide a definition on which all could agree. Why executive presence now? Is this still topical? Maybe more than ever. In a context of talent shortage and succession planning, let us remember the old adage: All the important decisions about you will be made when you’re not in the room.

At the risk of launching a heated debate, here is a commendable attempt to circumscribe the scope of executive presence. We will simply address it in relation to public speaking and presentation skills since it is the scope of this blog.

First, a definition that will serve as a starting point: executive presence is your ability to inspire confidence – instilling confidence in your subordinates that you are the leader they want to follow, inspiring confidence among peers that you are capable and reliable, and, most importantly, inspiring confidence among senior executives that you have the potential for great achievements.

This definition includes the words trust and reliability. The next question is: What qualities and attributes will be noticed in a speaker who is demonstrating executive presence?

In our many years in the field training and coaching high impact speakers and presenters at all levels of the organization, it has occurred to us that presence is this right balance between know-how and know-how-to-act skills that can often seem in direct opposition. Here are a few of them: force and emotional control; fight for corporate ideals and authenticity; energy and calm; loyalty and iconoclasm; engagement and denunciation; conviction and doubt; listening and speaking on one’s feet. An incomplete list, to be sure, but this 'X' factor, executive presence, which is sometimes difficult to define, seems to underlie one’s probity, a certain quality possessed by sought-safter professionals.

The growth opportunities presented to you depend on the trust you have inspired in decision-makers. The greater the opportunity, the more important the required executive presence.

What are your thoughts on executive presence?

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