Early on in my career, as I looked up to the executives and people I admired, I found myself asking, “what is it about these individuals that I admire so much?” What I came to conclude, and what became the birth of what I do today, is there was something I couldn’t define – it was executive presence. And as I observed these individuals more, those who had this presence – this “x” factor I couldn’t define but knew it when I saw it – it was rooted on a foundation of superior communication skills.
What is so interesting about top performers is they have all sought out the technical skills needed to initially do their jobs, but ultimately it is mastery of communication skills that determine how successful they are. Consider hard skills the common denominator that most everyone has and the “x” factor –characteristics that set them apart – as skills that unfortunately aren’t taught or emphasized much as they should be.
Identifying the “X” Factor
In my experience and the information that I have gathered over the course of my career, I’ve come to conclude there are three things that make up the executive presence successful people possess. When you walk into a room, you are being assessed by three things:
- Your Bearing – How do you look? Do you look confident? Miserable? Anxious? Nervous? People will draw a conclusion based on how you are holding yourself and how you choose to present yourself (e.g. grooming, dress, etc.)
- The Words You Choose – How are you speaking? The language you choose and what it is you say will determine what others hears and interpret your message.
- How Engaging You Are – How are you engaging people so that you seek maximum contribution from those in the room?
Before you’ve even said a word, your body has communicated a message to those around you. As humans, we form impressions of each other in the blink of an eye. Before we’ve even been introduced to someone, our brains are forming opinions based on what we see. This is before people know our names, before they know our credentials or pedigree. Executive presence is taking responsibility for what your message to the world is before you’ve even said a word. Beyond that it’s understanding and choosing words that convey authentic ideas, that inspire people to listen, persuade them to engage and ultimately provoke them to act on the messages discussed.
Executive presence is the integration of these three elements. When you are aware of how you look, what you say and how you are saying it, you can begin to make the changes needed to have the presence of an influential individual. Learn more by visiting, www.chuckgarcia.com