5 ways to increase your ‘Presence’

One of the most common questions I’m asked by my coaching clients is, “How do I increase my ‘presence’? It doesn’t matter whether it’s in a boardroom meeting for my corporate clients, or in business negotiations for business owners, everyone wants more presence, particularly women, and they want it now! I call it “executive presence” – that feeling that you have when you walk in a room and everyone notices you, when you speak in a meeting and people stop and listen, or when you are consulted by peers and people senior to you because your opinion is valued.

Here are 5 ways to increase your ‘Executive Presence’ almost instantly:

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1) Dress for Success. It takes 10 seconds to make a first impression and 10 years to change it. Have a look at your image and make sure you are projecting the right image. You want to look professional, elegant and classy at all times and you need to dress to fit your personality. Depending on your industry and role, you may want to focus on looking more masculine or feminine, conservative or creative, or fun and vivacious versus serious and authoritative.

If in doubt about your image or your wardrobe, consult a personal stylist to help you put together the right image for your success.Hold yourself high, walk with authority and confidence, look people in the eye, and deliver your message with conviction. If you believe in yourself and show it, others will reflect that right back to you

2) Network, network, network. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

Yes, that’s a cliché but to a certain extent it’s very true. Especially when it comes to being promoted, headhunted or growing your business.

Networking is single-handedly the most important strategy you can implement to increase your presence and profile. Networking is all about creating relationships with people who you may have something in common with, or where one or both person/s may be able to assist the other, or you simply enjoy the interaction you’ve had and stay in touch in case you wish to call on each other in the future. That’s all it is. In fact, one of my clients refers to networking time as “coffee catch-ups”. Make sure you observe the golden rule of networking: ask at the end of the interaction what you can do to assist them. It’s what makes networking work, even if you never do anything for them, you must ‘pay it forward’ and agree to a “coffee catch-up” to help out someone else.

3) Present as much as possible. Offer and deliver presentations to clients, stakeholders, staff within your organisation, community groups or anyone who has an interest in hearing what you have to say. The more presentations you do the greater your visibility and this has a flow-on effect on your confidence and executive presence.

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4) Take risks. Robert Stevens from Harvard Business School says great leaders play with a calculated level of risk and abandon. Speak up and challenge the status quo, even if it means challenging your boss or people senior to you. You will be noticed, heard and respected.

5) Confidence. Act like the CEO. Think as if you are the owner of the business you wish to own. Imagine you are that person. What would they do? Hold yourself high, walk with authority and confidence, look people in the eye, and deliver your message with conviction. If you believe in yourself and show it, others will reflect that right back to you.

If you do each of these things this week you will have increased your executive presence by the end of the week. If you do these things every week, watch your success go through the roof!

Sharon Williams

BSc (Psych) Hons, MAppSc (Psych Coach), Assoc MAPS, Coaching Psychologist, Alpha Coaching.