How to Develop Executive Presence

Recently, I’ve had a couple of my career mentoring clients tell me that they were turned down for a promotion because they lacked executive presence.

The problem here is that executive presence is an ambiguous term. Many hiring managers can’t do a good job of defining it.  They say “I know it when I see it.” This type of statement isn’t very helpful when it comes to developing your executive presence.

I define executive presence as your ability to project an image of competence and confidence.

When I work with my career mentoring clients on developing executive presence, we focus on five things…

  • Self-awareness – understanding yourself, your strengths and weaknesses; playing to your strengths.
  • Self-confidence – projecting a strong belief in your abilities and likelihood of success
  • Business acumen –demonstrating an understanding of the big picture — how business works in general, the intricacies of your industry and your company’s mission and strategy.
  • Presentation of self – dressing for success, knowing and understanding the rules of business etiquette, remaining calm during crises.
  • Dynamic communication – especially the ability to communicate well in conversation and to be able to deliver high quality presentations.

How many of these traits are true of you?

If you want to move up in your organization, you need to be competent in all five and outstanding in a couple of them.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can download a free copy of my bestselling book Climbing the Corporate Ladder at When you do, I’ll begin sending you daily motivational quotes and give you a free basic membership in my career mentoring site.

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