3CsLast week, I spoke in a webinar for women at all levels within a client on the topic of “Executive Presence.” As I prepared the talk, I realized that everything I had to say was true for men as well as women and truly did apply to all entry levels roles as well as the most senior ones.

What is Executive Presence?

In the olden days, we used to say someone could “walk on thick carpets,” meaning they could  sustain their dialogue and personal power in the CEO’s office.

But what does that really mean? We still throw around that term (and nod our heads) with little useful, clarifying discussion.  Here’s my definition that ventures beyond the C-suite.

The ability to gain attention, capture respect, and create a sense of belonging among a peer or senior group of people.

While I was giving my talk, I was thinking about a women in a financial services firm who holds the role of Executive Assistant. She probably doesn’t realize her own personal power, but she has a very strong “presence” in any conversation. She “belongs” when she participates in meetings with far more senior people. Do you belong at the highest level of play in your organization or clients?

How Do You “Get” More of It?

I crafted my message on how to develop your presence in the concept of the 3Cs of Executive Presence.

  1. Confidence: The inner thoughts and feelings that say you CAN.
  2. Courage: Knowing what you know and your ability to take a personal RISK.
  3. Connection: Engaging others, from eye contact to dress to really listening for IMPACT.

The first two are largely internal conversations, the third is about understanding and using what you know about people to create  the right dialogue and relationship.

Interspersed between other posts, I’ll share a bit more on this topic. In the meantime, reflect on your “high-stake” meetings and conversations (whatever those are for you and your role) and consider just how much you belong in that meeting. Not just in your experience, but in how others treat you.  Let me know what you see.