Why do people use jargon? It’s convenient. As you’ll see, to the uninitiated, it can hide a multitude of workplace sins while making you look fabulous.
“Raise your profile. You need more presence. You won’t get the opportunities you want until you start to get noticed more (by the bigger bosses). Oh, and improve your presentation too.”
That’s what a boss said to one of my clients.
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. Not only about her presentation, but what he meant by presence too.
Step up. Stand out. Improve your executive presence.
Executive presence is a word that gets bandied about.
Not surprisingly, 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.
Still, it’s jargon. It’s consultant-speak. It’s where a seemingly simple term is used to capture a more complex idea.
It’s usually said with such confidence that you feel you should know exactly what it means. And that’s the point. That’s why people use jargon, after all. To make them look and feel that way.
And when you don’t know what it means? You shrink just that little bit more.
I used to work in one of the Big 4 consulting firms. A consultant. When I started I had that feeling way too often. I thought I was supposed to know what all that jargon meant. After all, I never heard anyone ever challenge its use.
It took me a while to learn that even if others are pretending, 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, and I was right. 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. That’s why people use it. 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.
And if you want to be the real deal? Executive coaching can help with that.
And, if you’re wanting to master your executive presence then check out my free eBook and checklist.