Top Tips to Improve Your Executive Presence

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Executive presence may be hard to define, but we know it when we see it. An individual with a strong presence is able to command a room when they walk in, and they are able to instantly form connections with almost anyone. When people with executive presence speak, people listen. Discover some tips to improve your executive presence and learn how it helps present with confidence.

Don’t miss this intriguing
webinar from HRDQ-U

Don’t miss this intriguing webinar from HRDQ-U

Talking with the Top: Tips for Building and Using Your Executive Presence

Characteristics of Executive Presence

First, we have to define “executive presence.” The key characteristics are:

  • Composure
  • Connection
  • Passion
  • Confidence
  • Credibility
  • Clarity
  • Conciseness
  • Openness

Executive Presentations

Next, we have to define what a presentation is in today’s workplace. A presentation is an interaction containing the following components:

  1. A messenger
  2. A receiver
  3. A detailed message
  4. A desired outcome


The two key elements to remember when creating a presentation are “who is in your audience” and “what is the situation?” These elements will guide your presentation.

Five Components of a Successful Executive Presentation

  • Audience Alignment
  • Message Integration
  • Preparation
  • Strong Delivery
  • Follow Through


It is important to be passionate about your presentation, your work, and to present with confidence.

Tips to Improve Your Executive Presence

Here are some key tips to improve your executive presence:

  • Confidence. Confidence is something that we often show in our body, in our eye contact, and in our physical language. Even if we’re not feeling confident, we can use our body language and eye contact to relay that sense of confidence. Confidence is something that allows us to speak with certainty and to get a message across to an audience in a certain way.
  • Connection. There are two aspects to this. One has to do with our connection to people and the other with our connection to information. As we think about making an authentic connection with people, this is certainly
    a key aspect of executive presence. If we think about information, two things are happening here. We’re connecting individuals to our information, to the message we are seeking to relay to an audience. But, we’re also helping them to make connections between information and ideas that we are sharing.
  • Composure. This is very handy in a moment of pressure. So, if the stakes are high, there are people in the room perhaps that make you nervous or you feel a sense of pressure, we need to have that composure. Often we can project this composure through body language and how we are using our gestures and our eye contact.
  • Passion. Many times, people think that this runs counter: I need to be serious, I need to be formal, I need to be buttoned up. But as we think about important conversations, there needs to be some passion in there, especially if you’re seeking to influence or persuade members of your audience.
  • Credibility. This is something that we shouldn’t be afraid to show. Do you have expertise? Do you have understanding that’s deeper maybe than your audience has? Where can you bring that credibility, demonstrate that credibility, and share it with your audience?
  • Clarity. We want to make sure that our message is clear. If it’s not clear to us, then it’s probably not going to be clear to the audience.
  • Conciseness. This is certainly important for busy, fast-thinking audiences. They want you to get to the point and they want you to deliver that message in a way that is concise, that is easy to grab and run with. Think about how you can boil down your major points into something concise.
  • Openness. This is the ability to be open to anything that happens in the room. As you think about those people that you respect, think about people that you believe have executive presence and you’ve seen them demonstrate it over and over again, they probably have a sense of openness. They’re open to other people, to differing opinions, but also to differing styles of communication and thought.


Following these tips to improve your executive presence can help you in your day-to-day conversations at work, but they also serve as a powerful tool to help you present with confidence and capture the attention of your audience and leaders. Suzanne McCall discusses these tips and more in her webinar, Talking with the Top: Tips for Building and Using Your Executive Presence.

To help you understand what your communication style is right now and how to leverage your strengths and improve your weaknesses, check out HRDQ’s assessment, What’s My Communication Style.

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Talking with the Top: Tips for Building and Using Your Executive Presence

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