“Executive Presence is a topic everyone is talking about, but few have stepped forward to offer a clear definition of it,” says executive communications and speech coach Sally Williamson, who authored an upcoming book titled, “The Hidden Factor: Executive Presence, How to Find It, Keep It, and Leverage It.” “It’s an elusive idea that keeps creeping into discussions of leadership, executive development, and succession planning.”
Yet while many may struggle for the words to define it, Executive Presence is easy to spot in a crowd, Williamson notes. “Presence fits on a person like a well-cut suit. People who have presence command attention as if they simply have a right to be there.”
For years, Williamson says, people talked about presence as charisma or a God-given trait people were born with. “Training departments didn’t really believe it could be coached or developed in individuals. You were either a born leader or you weren’t.” Williamson and her coaching firm, SW&A in Atlanta, recently commissioned a study to prove otherwise.
The input of close to 400 executives confirmed that presence is an intentional effort, and 98 percent of the leaders surveyed say they think about it every day. In fact, Williamson says, “Executive Presence is a concept so closely aligned with leadership that it is often hard to pull them apart. Great leaders have presence, and people with presence often make great leaders.”
Read the survey results and insights on developing Executive Presence at http://www.trainingmag.com/article/executive-presence-top-priority-leadership.