That’s what a boss said to one of my clients.
Step up. Stand out. Improve your executive presence.
But what does that even mean? How do you do that?
My client was stumped. At the time, all she could think to ask her boss was: “Do I need to get a new wardrobe?” Is that what was meant by presentation?
“No” came the hurried reply, with no opportunity for following up right then.
My client wasn’t going to meet up with her boss for another two weeks. She was left wondering.
Executive presence is a word that gets bandied about.
It’s jargon. It’s consultant-speak – a term used to capture an idea. It’s usually said with such confidence that you feel you should know exactly what it means. But you don’t.
I hate that feeling.
I used to work in one of the Big 4 consulting firms. A consultant. I had that feeling a lot. I thought I was supposed to know. It took me a while to learn that the smart thing is to ask the seemingly dumb questions. What does that mean? How will that work?
When I first heard the term executive presence, I wasn’t sure what it meant. It sounded like jargon to me. So when someone mentioned it at a professional networking event, I asked “just what is executive presence?”
I was sure she’d know, by the way she said it. She sounded super smart and super confident. I was amazed by the bumbling reply.
We can hide behind jargon. We can sound super smart and super confident. It’s seductive. But you won’t get far. It doesn’t take long to discover when someone’s not the real deal.
Do the work. Be the real deal.
P.S. Turns out executive presence is important – counting for 26% of what it takes to get promoted according to a study of senior executives by the Centre for Talent Innovation.
But you can’t master something if you don’t know what it is. So I’m working on something that will help you step up and stand out and master the executive presence essentials. Look out for it in your inbox later this week.