Do you have radiant executive presence? Do people notice when you’re in the room? When your’e quiet, do your stakeholders ask for your opinion?

It’s not enough to be good at your job. Loads of people who’re great at their jobs don’t get promoted or rewarded. Lots of people who are great at their jobs fly completely under the radar, often frustrated that their brilliance is going unnoticed.

You could think of some people with big presence, right? Maybe leaders in your business, maybe in politics, maybe celebrities. You can think of a few? Please choose one for a moment.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how much presence would you say that person has?

And on a 1 to 10 scale, how much would you say that you have?

Now, how would you life be different if you were to increase that number by, say 3 points? What would it look like?

How would your interactions with stakeholders change? With your team members? Your boss? Client groups?

Even your coffee order has the potential to change! 🙂


How do you boost your executive presence?

Executive presence is a combination of three things. It’s what you say (the Verbal), how you carry yourself (the physical) and your attitude. I run full day masterclasses on improving your Executive Presence and others on Impactful Communication. There’s a lot we could say here! Let’s just aim for some quick wins for you.

What you say – the verbal

Communication is central to any role that interacts with another human. Ask for specific advice from those who’ve seen you present, or do the kind of communication you’re trying to get better at. Now be careful who you ask. You want someone who has a clear perspective, with no hidden agendas, and they should be objective too. If I ask my mum for feedback, she’s going to be pretty positive. If I ask an online troll? They’re going to be quite scathing.

The first question for you to answer, is ‘who will I ask for feedback?’, but of course it might be a handful of people, not just one.

Questions might include:

  • Do I speak too much? Or not enough? Or just right?
  • Do I say one of those throw-away lines like “I just think that maybe…” or “I’m sorry, but I think…”. These lines are sapping the conviction from your views. They erode confidence in your audience. Please, if this is you, make it a focus to eliminate them from your vernacular.


How you carry yourself – the physical

Ok, biggest bang for your buck: I’m giving you two pieces of homework.

  1. Ask someone objective whether there’s anything you do that’s physically distracting, when you’re pitching an idea or speaking with colleagues. Maybe you look off into space to think, or maybe you have a ‘concentrating frown’ like me, that can put people off. Maybe you’re a pen-flicker or perhaps you bang the table for emphasis without realising that you’re making your stakeholders nervous.
  2. Watch the Amy Cuddy TED talk on body language and how it shapes perceptions. Amy talks through the science in a very entertaining way, showing how your body stance affects your stress hormones and your risk-taking hormones. It doesn’t just impact how others see you, it impacts how you see yourself. That my friend is a huge impact on executive presence. Walking taller physically and mentally.



Your ‘tude!

This is where prep and confidence and comfort all come together.

You have a mental list accumulating of the times you could have done better, am I right? What about the list of wins. The things you did really well. Do you diligently keep track of those? Here’s some examples:

  • Do you have a ‘master file’ resumé that’s 30 pages long, where you dump all your achievements along the way? This is the resumé that nobody sees but you. It’s not tidy, it’s not pruned. It simply contains all the gold, so that when you need it- either for a job application or for a shot of confidence, you can find it.
  • Do you do a performance review every 3 or 6 or 12 months, to check you’re on track and receive feedback about how great you’re doing?
  • What about a Pride Diary? You might know it as a Gratitude Journal, but I’m really not a fan of those for the most part. Pride Diaries get you to reflect on all that you’ve achieved, where a Gratitude Journal has you focusing on why you’re lucky. In my experience, many women tend to to that part naturally. So when things get tough, you feel like you’ve only made it this far on luck, you question if your luck’s run out!
  • How do you squash self-doubt? We ran a webinar a few weeks back that has 13 things you can do, to master self-doubt. You can view it HERE.

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Bringing it all together

Be really good at your job and gather evidence as you go. Gather skills along the way in communication, confidence and people management that you can apply to peers, influencers and leaders within the business. ‘Managing Up’ is as critical as managing your team.

These are all skills that are essential for effective leadership: the sooner in your career you can get them working for you, the greater your career trajectory will be.

Cath Nolan

MD, Gender Gap Gone

Ready to take the next step in your career? Let’s talk about how a Coach might benefit you. Email me directly at to line up a conversation.

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