Success in innovation requires more than great ideas, that amazing product, the unique service. Innovators need support from others to make their innovations a reality. How does the innovation leader persuade and influence others to support his/her innovations? Executive presence plays a key role. This is Part Two of the two-part series that will help you create a strong executive presence.
The Innovator and Executive Presence
Ideas without execution are a hobby. Innovators are not in the hobby business. To execute on those ideas, innovators need funding and support. People are willing to listen and take a chance on the innovation leader with strong executive presence. For some, executive presence comes naturally. Others have to work at it. Hence, this two-part series, a first for Killer Innovations. It’s within everyone’s reach to create a strong executive presence. Part One covered three traits and their associated skills: maintaining composure, making connections, and charisma. Let’s explore more traits that convey executive presence.
Trait Four: Confidence
An important aspect of executive presence is confidence. Confidence isn’t only about what’s said. Non-verbal cues reveal confidence or a lack of it. Practice body hacks that display confidence.
- Stand straight, head up, face and eyes forward.
- Don’t cross arms.
- Don’t cross legs.
- Have a strong, firm handshake.
- Plant feet a shoulder width apart. Don’t sway.
- Make good eye contact.
- Lower voice pitch.
Nonverbal cues speak volumes about a person. Interested, engaged, and strong. Or indecisive, weak, and nervous. Not naturally confident? These hacks will help to exude an aura of confidence and create a strong executive presence.
Trait Five: Credibility
A crucial trait of executive presence is credibility. Building and maintaining credibility is a multi-faceted effort. Faking it won’t make it. Sooner or later, people will find out and executive presence dissolves. Credibility takes a long time and hard work to establish, but it’s easy to lose. Never risk your credibility.
Steps to building credibility:
- Establish trust
- If people trust you, they will do business with you.
- Exhibit competency
- Become an expert in your field.
- If you have the expertise, let others know without bragging.
- Be consistent
- Your actions and the messages you send out should align with who you are and what you do.
- Be authentic
- Don’t fake it till you make it.
- Base your business or leadership on a solid foundation. This will provide lasting stability no matter what changes may be ahead.
- Exhibit sincerity
- Don’t say everything you think, but mean everything you say.
- It takes commitment, dedication, always being straightforward.
- Respect everyone
- No matter who or what position they hold, respect people.
- Respect because everyone deserves it.
- Be accountable
- Own up to mistakes and correct them.
- Be honest
- Develop a reputation for honesty and candor.
- Honesty with respect.
Trait Six: Clear, Concise Communication
Communication has a huge effect on executive presence. Yet, it can be one of the biggest downfalls. To create a strong executive presence, you must know how to communicate with senior executives. When conveying information to senior executives, less is more. The more concise, but clear the communication, the better. Being wordy does not impress.
Here are some basic tips to communicating to senior executives:
- Lead with your main point.
- Get to the main point within the first two sentences.
- Cut the jargon.
- Leave jargon and slang out.
- Use clear, concise language.
- Use short, direct sentences.
- Put the subject in the beginning.
- In speaking, if the sentence has a comma, it’s too long.
- This is advice from my speech coach in preparing for my TEDxBoulder talk.
- Be clear with the ask.
- When presenting to an executive, inform up front whether you have an ask or not.
- For written communication, read it aloud.
- If you stumble reading aloud, others will stumble reading it.
- This helps to simplify and clarify.
- Communicate emotion in person.
- Don’t email or text in an emotional state.
- Type it up, leave the address line blank, then delete it.
- Maintain composure.
You can build or destroy strong executive presence depending on how and what you say. Through concise and effective communication, you can persuade others to support what you’re doing.
Executive presence is critical for the innovation leader. Leading, influencing and persuading people to come onboard with your innovation requires executive presence. It’s not easy to create a strong executive presence. But, it’s attainable.
I hope I’ve achieved my objective in helping you to create a strong executive presence. I’d love to get your feedback. Do you know someone who could benefit from knowing how to create a strong executive presence? Tell them about the show. The show has grown in subscribers since March 2005 by word of mouth. Thank you for telling others.
To hear how you can create a strong executive presence, listen to this week's show, How to Create a Strong Executive Presence – Part Two.
Continue the conversation with us on this and other topics over at The Innovators Community (https://www.theinnovators.community/). It’s a free online community of innovators, designers, and creative people just like you.
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