How Exactly Confidence and Charisma Improves When You Work on Your Executive Presence


Scenario 1

You are required to give a presentation. Your nerves are high and your confidence is low. You pass the task onto someone else. You are relieved. You decide to speak next time when you are more confident.


You don’t feel good about not having tried. You are just as nervous the next time for it is still your first time. You feel no more confident.

Scenario 2

You are required to give a presentation. Your nerves are high and your confidence is low. You prepare and practise. You muster up the confidence to present. You do your best.


Irrespective of how you may have done, you feel good about yourself for having tried. You built courage and broke the resistance.  Through the experience you learn where you excel and what needs improvement. You have done it once and will be less hesitant the next time. You have gained confidence.

We do not build confidence and charisma by sitting on the side-lines, waiting to feel confident enough to get into the game. We gain confidence by getting into the game.

Recommended read: From social timidity to confident expression

In the same way, the elements of executive presence, some of which are being able to appropriately show up, articulate our views, make tough decisions, hold poise under pressure and build connections with people, give us a strong sense of self-worth and belief.

Work on your presence, and confidence with charisma will reveal itself intrinsically, in a most genuine way.

For confidence in executive presence is a skill that requires building just as our biceps need strengthening at the gym. It is a muscle to be developed through action.

Your charisma lies in the eye of the beholder. It is not about how you feel about yourself, but how you make others feel around you and about themselves.  Executive presence in the same way is how others experience and perceive you. In order for them to experience you, you need to play your role in that scene.

Look good equals feel good

One component of high presence is a polished appearance, being well-groomed and suitably dressed. Having been in the fashion business, I never met anyone, man or woman, young or old, who did not feel delighted at looking their best.

Turning up appropriately and looking sharp is self-care, indicating you matter. This builds self-worth, upping your level of confidence. You are likely to perform better and bring out your best, exuding a certain charisma.

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Charisma is in the eye of the beholder

To have presence is to have warmth, approachability and empathy. Emotional intelligence, a heightened awareness of the environment and how others feel is developed. You increasingly become aware of what others might be needing or resisting.

And as you build rapport and truly connect with others, you better assess how others feel around you. This awareness encourages you to be sensitive to others, and the improved relationships invite good cheer, stimulating you to display a personality of confidence and positivity.

Our nonverbals govern our state of mind

You feel unsure, doubtful or fearful and you are likely to cave in, slouch, and contract. On the other hand, you feel strong, sure and determined, and you are likely to stand tall, pull shoulders back and expand. Work your body language to shift your state of mind.

Executive presence asks you to walk tall, sit upright, be steady, and hold your head high. As you powerfully carry yourself, you are influenced into feeling and then acting bold, capable and confident. The pose itself exudes a charismatic demeanour.

Speak Up, Speak Out, Speak Strong

A big part of executive presence is high impact communication. It is not enough to be seen. To be truly seen, one must be heard. As you articulate your views, contribute value, develop voice power and respond assertively, you are less likely to be interrupted and more likely to be heard out.

This builds your confidence. You cultivate the skill of interjecting if no one is letting you speak. You master speaking succinctly and to the point, inviting undivided attention from others. People listen and give thought to what you say. And as you begin to persuade and influence, you develop confidence.

You may find it interesting to read: 7 Loud Signs that a Leader is Faking Confidence

Your narrative is your conviction is your confidence.

There is no other you. You are the only you. Your unique being gives birth to your story from your experiences, beliefs, and learnings. In boldly speaking out and stating your view, you demonstrate a conviction. You know what you stand for and you take action to stand for it.

This is significant to developing a signature executive presence. You no longer hesitate to share ideas that others may reject or demean. You exude substance, and as you foster this individuality, you rely more on yourself, whereby confidence becomes intrinsic and not extrinsic in executive presence.

If you do what you have always done, you will be what you have always been

Ed Mylett, a bestselling author and global speaker, says we operate at a certain temperature throughout our life via our internal thermostat. If we can raise our temperature, in other words do better, we are likely to change our external world. Build the courage to show up and be seen.

Share your experience, your narrative, your story. There is no other like it. This too is contribution.

Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone strengthens that muscle of confidence. Nudge yourself each week to take one positive action that you have resisted. When in doubt, show up.

Cool, calm and collected

Losing your composure, reacting harshly or storming out of a room is anything but executive presence. Recognising, accepting and then managing emotions is an art that brings on poise under pressure, clear thinking in crisis situations and trust from others is what executive presence is.

We usually regret when we retort badly and wish we could have kept a level of calm. Besides, the yelling is more of a distraction and others no longer hear us. The more self-control you demonstrate, the more you look up to yourself. And with a higher regard for yourself, you feel more confident about who you are and how you conduct yourself.

Explore 7 Key Elements of Executive Presence for Leaders – What Sets You Apart

Results lead to credibility

Results matter. Being decisive and taking action to deliver results is key to executive presence. As responsibility is taken and objectives are achieved, credibility, reliability and trustworthiness is earned.

Accomplishing goals and showing success increases confidence levels. It’s a win.

Building executive presence is in part a self-awareness and reflection journey that asks you to look at your beliefs, influences and core values in relation to how you feel, think, act, and speak. As you walk this path, you recognise and shift barriers, imbibing the necessary skills to achieve success, giving way to a confident and charismatic you.

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