Your Executive Presence

Do You Have 'Executive Presence' or Personal Presence?

Personal and executive presence is important to be a persuasive speaker, whether one-to-one or if you are speaking to a large audience.  Your personal presence reinforces your message and gives it credibility and the increased possibility of the audience being inspired by your words, and acting on your words.

What is presence?

Personal presence is easy to recognise in a person, but is very hard to define.

You know that person ….  they walk into a room and all heads turn.  It is something about how they walk, carry themselves, how they talk and interact with the people around them.  Also how groups talking open up to accommodate a person with presence.  It goes way past just good looks, which can be a transient first impressions head turner.  No, there is something else involved that needs to be there after the first impressions.

People with presence look confident and comfortable, speak clearly and persuasively, think clearly even when under pressure.  They act with intention.  People with presence reflect on their emotions, attitudes and situations and then adapt.  They accept responsibility for themselves and the results they achieve.  People with presence are real.  They present their genuine character authentically.  What they say and do matches who they are.”

~ Dianna Booher

Executive presence is the ability to engage, align, inspire, and move people to act.

~ Suzanne Bates

Whether you are in the board room, a classroom or at a party, if you wish to voice an opinion, seek to inspire and persuade, then your presence is important.

So how can you improve your personal and executive presence?

Dianna Booher (1) has identified four key areas of personal presence that are important in all our communications, whether those communications are big (thousands) or small (one-to-one).

You can improve your presence

Most important, Booher says it is possible to cultivate and develop these.  In so doing you are well on your way to being a persuasive speaker as well as influencing your career path and becoming a valuable member of any organisation.

These areas include:

  • Your Look
  • Your Talk
  • Your Thinking
  • How you Act

Obviously your Look can be first impressions and is easily observable but in the end the least important.  Your Talk is on show and can be observed, and to some extent so is your Thinking.  How you act in situations, can be observed over time and most often will be reported by others.  Your website, Facebook, or  your Twitter account will also reveal how you act.

Booher offers ways to improve your personal and executive presence if you focus on these four areas (1).   As you consider these, tick off and write down where you can take action where you see you can improve.  Consider asking a close friend to complete for you.

Consider ...

Your Look

Here focus on your physical appearance, body language,
dress, accessories and

Also important are your
energy, passion and spirit. 

Also look after your surroundings such as your personal work space.  Keep it neat and interesting.

Your Talk
The way you speak, and the vocal quality of your voice.  The tone of your voice which reveals attitude. 

Your word choices and use of language.

Your ability to carry on a conversation.

Emotional reactions and outbursts.

Ability to communicate with stories, analogies, metaphors, and sound bites to make messages clear and memorable.

Your Thinking

Capacity to think strategically, cut through the clutter and summarise well.

Ability to organise your ideas coherently.

Ability to think visually.

Ability to think on your feet under pressure.

How you Act

Acting consistently with integrity

Demonstrating a willingness to listen to other people’s ideas

Engaging with others and being approachable

Being genuine

Demonstrating thoughtfulness and good manners out of a sense of humility other than arrogance

Having a sense of humour

Being competent and accountable for results. 

Your Action To Improve

Your personal and executive presence can help you get a date, a mate, or a sale. Presence can help you lead a meeting, a movement, a revolution, or a nation. Presence appears in all segments of society and all levels of an organization (1)

Some final thoughts

Live in the moment

Live in the moment, be mindful and present.

After all, presence is here and now, in this instant, in this present time.

Aim to live in the present moment by focusing your attention on who you are speaking with at this moment.  Focus.  Concentrate.  Don’t wander off thinking about yesterday, or into the future.

There are a number of prominent people who have been reported to be able to mingle in a crowded room, to speak sincerely and honestly with individuals and for these individuals to say they felt they were alone with them, listened to and heard.  There was real conversation.  Bill Clinton is renowned for this ability.  This is part of presence, part of charisma.

Focus on one task at a time is a good modus operandi when with people or when at your desk working.  You will find it pays dividends.


Think as if you are the owner of the business. Imagine you are that person. What would they do? Hold yourself high, stand tall, walk with authority and confidence, look people in the eye, and deliver your message with conviction. If you believe in yourself and show it, others will reflect that right back to you (4).

When meeting people, greet with a firm handshake, but not a squeeze.  Nothing is gained by squeezing someone’s hand.  A firm handshake shows respect and demonstrates your confidence.

Day by day

By being conscious of your presence, day by day, you will improve your presence when in groups.


Imagine, walking to a microphone one day, delivering your persuasive speech and having your audience with you every step of the way.

Imagine easily speaking with colleagues in a meeting.  Imagine standing to speak an opinion at a meeting in your local area.

Imagine, how your skills in personal and executive presence now assist you to be an influential and persuasive person in this world, and the good you can now do.

Best wishes for your future,


1. Booher Dianna, Creating personal presence, Booher Consultants, Berrett-Kochlor Pub.,2011

2.  Bates, Suzanne, Five Steps To Achieving Extraordinary Executive Presence,

3.  Sharon Williams,

4.   Stacey Ashley,

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