I’m sure you’ve heard the saying ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’ But we all know that as human beings, the cover’s the first thing that we judge. 

In our most recent podcast we spoke about the power of having an executive presence. Imagine that you’re watching a movie where the plot is largely based in an office setting. You’re enjoying your popcorn and then the actors show up on the screen. 

Who do you look for first?

Chances are that you immediately try to gauge who’s the one in charge of the others. Which person among the actors dressed in suits is the leader. You scan them looking for the person who has executive presence.

According to the Center for Talent Innovation, executive presence is a combination of gravitas (confidence, poise and decisiveness), communication (speaking skills, assertiveness, and ability to read the room), and appearance.

Let’s face it, even in the world of make-believe, as a movie watcher you’re looking for the social cues.  You’re going to search the screen to find the leader of the pack, the one who has an aura of confidence, the one who’s going to get this movie started.


In the world of fiction, there are some truths. We tend to feel more comfortable around and have more confidence in the person with a pleasing appearance. 

When it comes to developing your own executive presence, your appearance isn’t something to be regarded lightly. Though its not the most important aspect of executive presence, your appearance remains important. 

Why? Because if your appearance isn’t on par with your environment or the role you’ll like to obtain, the chances of you being considered for a leadership position diminishes. 

Here’s the truth. People filter both books and people by their appearance. It will always matter. By understanding your work environment and putting your best foot forward, you can increase your chances of securing a leadership role.

Get that gravitas.

When it comes to gaining a leadership position you must first see yourself as a leader. According to gravitas means “high seriousness (as in a person’s bearing or in the treatment of a subject).” Simply put you’ve got to take who you are seriously by recognizing the value you possess within your company, as well as by taking responsibility for your behavior. 

People have confidence in those who already have confidence in themselves. In order to have executive presence, continuously develop your skillset and believe in the value that you bring to the table.

Communicate Better

Lastly, the ability to communicate well is one of the most important skills you’ll need in order to develop your executive presence.

Those who communicate well are better able to form interpersonal relationships, avoid misunderstandings, speak up for what they want, and be taken seriously by others. In every organization, communication is the pathway that leads to work getting done. But it’s not only verbal communication that will help steer you to the top, being able to read others and gauge the room also plays a part.  

Those who are able to pick up on the nonverbal social cues of others are better able to respond. This enables them to press on the gas or back up when a point is being made. Think about how you’d rate your nonverbal and verbal communications skills? 

The better you’re able to effectively communicate with others, the greater your chances of forming a connection that furthers your career goals.

Though you’ve learned about three traits necessary in order to have executive presence, in episode #29 of C-CRETS, we share with you even more on what is executive presence and how you can develop it. Listen in.

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