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Executive presence is a vital skill

By November 15, 2022Blog, Career, Leadership
Executive presence

Have you ever wondered what makes a good leader?  Do you ask yourself how is it that some people seem to have an innate ability to inspire confidence in others?  If so, you may be unconsciously noticing other people’s executive presence. But, what is executive presence, and why is it said that executive presence is a vital skill?

In short, executive presence can influence your access to opportunity. The more decision makers trust you, the more access you will get to opportunities.  

Executive presence is a vital skill at work and in your daily life that many people struggle to understand.  It refers to someone’s ability to inspire confidence so that they become the leader others want to follow.  People with good executive presence are seen by their peers as capable and reliable leaders. They also inspire senior leaders that they have the potential to perform excellently and to have great achievements. 

Another benefit of having good executive presence is that it helps you build confidence in yourself.  As your confidence grows, others will take notice. This will help you pursue your goals more assertively.

There are three main pillars of executive presence and these are known as gravitas, professional image, and communication.

1. Gravitas

Gravitas refers to knowing your stuff and how you reflect your preparedness about a topic or situation. It represents a combination of personality and traits that send a signal to the world that you are someone who should be heard and followed. Gravitas also has to do with how you behave and carry yourself in different settings.  

People with good gravitas express a good balance between a can-do and a will-do attitude.  They act with confidence, act decisively, and project their vision intelligently.

2. Professional Image

When we talk about professional image we are referring to the way you present yourself. Is your appearance appropriate for the place where you are conducting business?

Professional image should be taken seriously.  Presenting yourself neatly groomed and with a polished look, sends a signal that you are someone who pays attention to detail.  This makes a positive impact and subsequently creates trust. It tells your peers, superiors, and clients about your dedication and willingness to be a part of the team. It may also reinforce in others their impression of whether you are reliable, organized, and responsible.

Your professional image also impacts how you feel about yourself and what people think when they see you.  Do you present an image of credibility? Does your body language project authority? These are important details that speak louder than words and will help you advance in your career.

3. Communication

The best leaders are excellent communicators. One characteristic that defines them is that they are compelling. Great leaders evoke interest and inspire others, especially when it’s time to take action.

Another quality of good communication in executive presence is to be credible.  Good communicators consistently provide information, facts and figures that are easily corroborated. By presenting evidence and data clearly and in a kind manner, even during times of conflict, credible communicators can express their point without receiving much argument.  In addition, they are able to have small talk so others enjoy having a conversation with them.

Lastly, another quality of communication in those with good executive presence is that they are concise.  Women in particular are commonly ignored when trying to speak in meetings.  A simple way to capture people’s attention quickly is to first express your main point, then add other details and elaborate, if necessary. This limits distractions and the opportunity of interruptions by others who feel you are taking too long to present your idea.

Don’t forget this detail about communication in executive presence:

Above all, a greatly important communication skill is to be a good listener.  When you attentively listen to others’ thoughts and ideas, they perceive your interest in them and makes them reciprocally interested in your opinion. This is an easy way to establish rapport that will get you ahead in the game.

In summary, executive presence is crucial for your advancement at work and daily life.  Gravitas, professional image, and communication, describe well the qualities noticeable in people with good executive presence.  Those who capitalize on their executive presence and its pillars may have better access to opportunities.

What are some of your thoughts on executive presence?  Please share them in the comments.


Dr. Landrau is a keynote speaker in Houston, TX. She works with organizations focused on retaining women in the workforce and promoting them to executive levels. Her talks about leadership and women’s empowerment, help professional women obtain visibility and recognition to become phenomenal leaders in their industry.  

Hire Dr. Landrau to speak at your event by sending a direct message to

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