Executive presence training
A note by Mariela Dabbah
Following the conversations held during one of our RSM events, several participants emailed us wondering what is executive presence and if there is any executive presence training available.
The answer is yes! In the context of their leadership development programs the Red Shoe Movement offers executive presence training for women interested in continuing to grow in their careers. But what is most important is that you can start training yourself by observing leaders you admire. Observe both men and women. Zero in on the following
- How do they speak when they address a large group? (Focus on how they end their sentences.)
- How do they react when faced by an emergency or at a critical juncture? (Focus on how they manage the people around them, the media, etc.)
- How do they present their ideas to persuade others of their value? (Focus on the way they organize their thoughts, words, slides…)
- How do they dress in various situations?
- Are they good listeners or do they tend to speak more than everyone else?
Just by polishing your observation skills, you’ll be on your way to incorporating those traits needed to exude the executive presence needed to grow into leadership positions.
What is Executive Presence? Do you need Executive Presence Training?
by Abigail Kuhn
“Executive Presence: Overcoming the Stigma that Women and Youth Don’t Have It” was an exceptionally popular topic at a recent Red Shoe Movement event in NYC. Women and men from a wide range of professional levels and a diversity of companies held a lively discussion around the definition of executive presence, what women and younger people should take into consideration when looking to project executive presence and regarding executive presence training. Here is a recap of the session.
So, What is executive presence?
Danielle – It’s hard to define, but a person who can command the room has executive presence, and it is not just based on gender.
Karina – Executive presence is a total package. It is having knowledge about a topic, expressing yourself effectively, maintaining eye-contact with the room, and dressing appropriately for the setting.
The Stigma: What are some of the reasons behind the stigma that women and youth don’t have executive presence?
Several experts agreed that there is a general perception that women are emotional and young people just don’t have enough experience to project executive presence.
Barbara – In a group of people, women will stay quiet, while men will be aggressive.
Jen – Women will think about all of the things that they don’t know (they overanalyze), whereas men just go for it.
Overcoming the Stigma: How can women and youth overcome the stigma?
Yolanda – Dress for the job that is two levels above you.
Janice – Preparation is key, especially if you want to be noticed in a positive way.
Lily – You need to be confident in your own skin and not feel intimidated. Don’t dress for the job that you have, but dress for the job that you want.
Clementine – You need to exude confidence. You also have to dress the part to be recognized before you even open your mouth. Your presence won’t even be noticed if you don’t dress the part.
Karina – Be confident.
What advice would you give to a young woman?
Angela – It is crucial to have mentors.
Jen – Learn how to ask questions.
Kyle – An amazing resource to use is Lavoleague.org (Especially for someone leaving college).
How do you make a point without sounding aggressive?
Amy – Be knowledgeable about what you are talking about.
Karina – Maintaining eye-contact with your audience is very important.
Yolanda- You need to know your part in a meeting. We go back to how important preparation is.
Danielle – We need to treat everybody as equals. After all, at the end of the day, everybody is human.
What are some the qualities that women with executive presence have?
- Knowing that they might not hold all the answers
- High self-esteem
- The ability to listen
- Calm under pressure
- The ability to make decisions on the spot (In these situations, over analyzing becomes a handicap.)
- A firm tone of voice
- The ability to give directions with clarity
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