What is Executive Presence Training (And Why it Matters More Than Ever in 2020)

When we aspire to be leaders, the underlying context of that aspiration is the desire to lead, make a positive change, inspire others to do and be better, to head up an organization, to make an impact on others and in some cases leave a lasting impression or legacy.

Leadership is often associated with key traits and skills we expect people to have, at times, we correlate leadership with positions held.

Indeed, leadership is those things and more; it is the ability to have others willingly follow your lead – regardless of position held.

For many organizations, one of the biggest challenges facing them is pipeline issues and succession planning.

While businesses know they need to develop both these tracks, few have a clear path with the exception of perhaps the most senior role(s).

However, if organizations want to thrive and prosper, they need to develop their talent pipeline and often, the most critical skill is leadership presence and in particular executive presence training.

What is Executive Presence?

So, what exactly is executive presence?

It can mean different things to different people; simply put, leadership or executive presence comes from being authentic, building confidence in others, and inspiring others to take meaningful action.

Leadership and developing your executive presence, specifically, is a journey of personal transformation of:

  • who you are;
  • the kind of leader you are;
  • and the kind of leader you want to be

Considered the gold standard in the industry for many reasons, executive presence training is anchored in 30+ years of research and is grounded on understanding the neuroscience of the brain; recognizing that positive change comes with managing triggers, behaviours and your ability to self manage in situations to achieve excellent outcomes.

How to Develop Executive Presence

While developing your leadership is achieved through different methods, executive presence training is a key differentiator because it supports the growth of your courage, confidence, and strengthens your communication skills, builds empathy and enhances your active listening.

Individuals who develop executive presence influence their leadership strategy thus impacting their personal journey and building their capacity to seek opportunity and stand out among leaders.

So why is executive presence different and cited as the gold standard?

The impact stems from the personal development of an individual such that there is a great deal of self-reflection while building capacity and skills that develop a person in a fulsome way.

For example, when we think of great leaders, we associate humble confidence and the ability to project knowledge with credibility.

But, how do you gain credibility and confidence?

It comes with developing trust and making consistently good impressions.  This lasting impression on people is created through consistency in:

  • communication;
  • knowledge of your area of specialization;
  • being authentic,
  • lifting others

For example, when we think of leaders, we associate the ability to communicate effectively and powerfully and in doing so, that quiet confidence comes through.

However, this impression is more than words we use, it is how present we are and how we present (or how we show up) that supports and defines the impression we make.

For example, if you are speaking and moving back and forth, looking down, speaking in a monotone, fidgeting, with arms crossed, imagine the impression you make to an audience regardless of how well you know the material.

Executive presence training develops and teaches an individual to hone the skills to communicate effectively such that what you say and how you say speaks to and reflects your personal brand and the high value you bring as a person along with your knowledge and contributions.

Executive presence also develops leadership in individuals by empowering them to gain a greater understanding of the executive brain and its functionality; specifically, the individual’s triggers and how to manage them and the responses effectively.

The ability to hone and strengthen your interpersonal skills can help navigate work place politics and challenges critical to leadership success.

Benefits of Executive Presence Training

Leadership and those with executive presence are highly sought after.

Every organization wants excellent staff and colleagues who have leadership skills and potential, because these individuals will rise to the occasion, and help lead the organization in times of crisis in a way that instills trust, minimizes disruption and leverages strategic competencies.

Leaders do not just focus on results; leaders with executive presence build on their knowledge and leverage their credibility, confidence and excellent interpersonal skills to make a lasting and positive impression.

Executive Presence requires developing competencies and investment in yourself to empower and expand your career potential.

At Corporate Class Inc., our executive presence training in Toronto and across the globe is designed in such a way that reflection and practice become an integral part of your personal and professional development.

Change and a growth mindset happen when individuals seek to learn, invest in their leadership journey and open themselves up to becoming a better version of themselves. Like all great skills, it also comes with practicing what you learn.

Executive presence training is an investment in your current and future self; it is the gift that keeps on giving.

Why You Need Executive Presence Coaching

When you are present, confident, and reflective and lead with authenticity, you build your Executive Presence and these skills and experience are a game changer.

Diane Craig, President of Corporate Class Inc., emphasizes that, “to be crowned a leader, a person must be recognized as a leader. Our role is empowering people to lead. Executive presence is a blend of related parts that vary according to personality and circumstance. There is no formula; every client is unique. We ensure they evolve and develop their own authentic presence.”

As one aspiring leader and participant has shared, “through our discussions, I have much greater awareness and understanding of how my behaviors and impressions may hold me back from unlocking my potential as an executive. The approach is based on research and the latest thinking on executive presence. The advice has been truthful and direct, yet delivered in a kind way that helps me internalize it, remember it in the moment, and reach for different behaviors. There are certainly other vendors in this space, but I’d be surprised if their service came close to that offered by this high touch, highly effective team.”

Corporate Class Inc. conducts executive presence workshops around the world — from the Americas, to Europe and the Gulf.

CEO’s have endorsed our training and executive presence coaching because of its strong value proposition; “The investment I made with Corporate Class has helped me personally and increased my business exponentially. This program has reinforced the value we place on a work environment that is based on respect. Understanding and consideration for our internal and external clients. This training has also supported our employees in their career development, proving to be a great professional and personal investment for everyone who attended.”

Top business schools around the world recognize Executive Presence as critical to closing the gap between talent and exceptional leadership by finding your voice, developing the quiet confidence to navigate what comes your way, leveraging and maximizing your strengths,. Our client list speaks to the impact our programs have made on our patrons and their organizations around the world.

At Corporate Class Inc. our goal is to empower people to unlock their potential. Let us help you on your journey to empower yourself and others.

How You Can Develop Your Executive Presence Through Mindfulness

What is mindfulness? What does it mean and how can it benefit you as a busy, successful professional? Mindfulness is simply another word for meditation. Although we are all likely familiar with the practice of meditation, it can often be hard to grasp if we’ve never tried it before, so we will explain it a little further here, as well as it’s intimate connection to Executive Presence.

What Mindfulness Is Really All About

Mindfulness, or the act of mediating, has its roots in Buddhism, and teaches being present in the moment; more than that, it teaches to always be attentive to, and accepting of, one’s thoughts, emotions, and responses – without judgment.

Apart from its deep connection to Buddhism, mindfulness has grown since the 80’s to become part of Western culture in various ways: from a method of helping children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder to soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and beyond. More recently, mindfulness is being used as a tool within Fortune 500 companies to help top performers excel.

Mindfulness and Executive Presence

The main pull of mindfulness for these high-level professionals is its ability to improve performance. Some of the biggest names in the game have recognized this, and have even adopted “mindful practices,” such as Google and General Mills. Not only does mindfulness practice help with focus, but it can also present a pretty hefty ROI for companies that adopt it.

In fact, according to Mark Bertolini, chief executive of Aetna Insurance, mindfulness benefits can yield an 11-1 ROI (in reference to less health care costs for the “mindful”) (Anne Kingston for Maclean’s: “Mindfulness Goes Corporate – And Purists Aren’t Pleased”).

But where does Executive Presence come in? A characteristic that is integral to Executive Presence is the ability to remain present; the individual with high levels of EP is always focused on the present, charismatic, engaged and attentive. This person makes you feel like the center of the universe when you speak to them. When they are working on a task, they are thinking about that task, and that task only. It is clear then, that a person with high levels of Executive Presence is also, subsequently, mindful.

To break things down even further, here are some proven leadership advantages of mindfulness training, according to MindfulLeader.com (mediating on a regular basis for no more than 30 minutes):

  • Increase in productivity and creativity
  • Decrease in knee-jerk behaviour that is often linked to poor decision-making and damaging relationships
  • Increase in the density of gray matter in the brain area essential for focus, memory and compassion
  • Decrease in blood-pressure, cortisol (stress hormone) and depression
  • Increase in immune response, emotional stability, sleep quality, resilience

In conclusion: the simple act of meditating for a short period of time on a regular basis can actually help to improve your Executive and Leadership presence, putting you at a distinct advantage. It all comes down to focus and most especially, awareness.

To learn about other ways in which you can increase your Executive Presence, visit our website Corporate Class Inc.

24 Tips on How to Increase Your Executive Presence On The Spot

increase-executive-presenceExecutive Presence – what is it? Well, it’s neither exclusive nor elusive, which means you can get it! People aren’t “born” with Executive Presence. Yes, for some it comes more naturally because they inheritably express certain characterizes that are closely linked to Executive Presence. However, for those who do not exhibit these characteristics, there is no need to fret. Executive Presence can absolutely be learned, although it is important to keep in mind that it is a process, not an event. Developing your Executive Presence takes time, hard work and dedication, but in the end, it will set you apart from all others at the table.

To make this journey a little easier for you, we’ve put together 24 quick tips on how you can increase your Executive Presence on the spot:

  1. Increase your focus – staying focused and in the moment is one of the easiest ways to increase your EP on the spot.
  2. Create a personalized, professional voicemail greeting
  3. Update your LinkedIn picture every year or so, or if you change your “look” (and be sure it is a professional picture! Your kids are certainly great, but save that for Facebook)
  4. Connect with your eyes – eye contact goes a long way in helping to express your EP
  5. Don’t gossip! Unless it’s positive gossip
  6. Recognize that your appearance matters, and realize the potential of presenting a professional image
  7. Do a wardrobe cleanse every season to get rid of things you no longer wear or are out of style. This will assure you are always presenting your best, most stylish self.
  8. Prepare (at least mentally) what you are going to wear the night before
  9. Get enough sleep – nothing says “Lack of EP” more than someone falling asleep during a meeting!
  10. Always be on time (and by on time, we mean a bit early)
  11. Practice power posing before any scenario where you might feel nervous
  12. Attend networking events – even if they make you feel uncomfortable!
  13. Increase your emotional intelligence – for this, you may need to work a little longer and harder, but a good place to start is by trying to be more empathetic to others
  14. Make sure you eat before attending a networking event – you weren’t invited because you were hungry!
  15. When networking, set yourself a goal, such as connecting with three people before you leave
  16. Show your attention to detail through your impeccable grooming – the most important piece of appearance is your grooming!
  17. Your network is your net-worth – always be thinking about growing your network, both professional and personal
  18. If you don’t already know it, learn about your company’s corporate culture and what they stand for. Do you fit in? Can you make any adjustments?
  19. Learn the political landscape of your company. For more information, check out our blog series on The Secret Handshake
  20. When giving a presentation, make sure you hit all four corners of the room with your eyes, so that everyone feels included – they will be more likely and willing to listen to you! This is probably the easiest and fasted way to help increase your EP on the spot
  21. Keep a clean and organized desk space – especially if you’re in an open-office environment
  22. Replace “Yes, or” “Yes, but” and “no” with “Yes, and”
  23. Listen more
  24. Write thank you notes

These are some excellent on-the-spot tactics you can apply in your daily lives that will instantly make a big impact on your Executive Presence. For more information on how you can further increase your EP, feel free to check out our Courses, Workshops and Lunch and Learns!