From interviewing for the fast-food restaurant job to leading Fortune 500 companies, a major asset for an individual is his ability to convey confidence to those with whom he comes in contact. Self- confidence is generally defined as belief in oneself and one’s power or abilities. However, there are times when one’s abilities may be lacking for the job they seek or the project or change they are charged to lead. This is not unusual. If one were to ask his employees or leaders, he would find that some would admit that they are not always as confident in themselves or their abilities as other may think. Fortunately, there is a way to convey confidence even when one is not feeling as confidently in the presence of others! This quality and skill is oftentimes called Executive Presence.
Here are some things to consider and practice to develop and improve your Executive Presence:
· Manage your emotions: For those who experience a flood of emotions, particularly anxiety under pressure, practice ways to reduce that anxiety through monitoring breathing and visualizing success.
· Monitor facial expressions: Don’t be afraid to get in the mirror and learn what types of faces you make, particularly when feeling defensive, angry, unsure, or confused. Solicit feedback from others about what types of faces you make throughout the course a day and practice more neutral and/or pleasant expressions.
· Always keep eye contact! Learn how to look others in the eye when speaking to them; however, watch the intensity of your gaze – this can communicate fear if too intense.
· Practice good posture: The way you walk and sit speak volumes about how you view your abilities. Walk with your head up (literally) and sit up!
· Don’t be afraid to admit that you don’t know something: A confidently spoken confession can translate to others as transparency – a skill characteristic of great leaders.
· Smile! A smile reads as confidence, particularly in situations where the other parties are feeling unsure or less than confident
Although it is important to be able to produce, execute, and accomplish and know that you have the wherewithal to get the job done; a little executive presence can be exactly what you need to gain the confidence of others and get you through for the moment, and can take you a long way!