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Executive presence is all about “it.” Do you have the “it” factor working for you? Professionals with executive presence can command a room; when they walk into a room, people notice and listen. Do people stop to listen to you?

The key to EP is being perceived as leadership material. EP is a combination of perception and reality. In other words, you look and play the part. If you have the desire or have been frustrated with your lack of advancement, you need to consider improving your executive presence. Look at it this way: about 25% of your job is to master the perception that you are executive material. Here are the 4 keys to executive presence.

1. Communication
Your speaking skills are paramount to mastering EP. Get to Toastmasters as soon as you can and practice. Speak slowly and use big words, but most importantly, speak as an expert in your field. Know your stuff.

2. Assertiveness
Leaders with executive presence know what they want. Not to be confused with being controlling or bossy, lead confidently and adapt to your team. You can’t be flaky or non-committal. You must be decisive.

3. Social Awareness
Social awareness is the ability to read an audience or situation and act accordingly. You know how to handle all types of people in a smooth and delicate manner to keep morale high and conflict low. In each interaction, people respect how you handle yourself and each situation.

4. Appearance
Look like success, look like money. Human nature is powerful; appearance contributes to a person’s perceived executive presence. If you look good, studies show you will make more money. Why? People give you the benefit of the doubt when you pass the eyeball test.

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