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When you speak, do people stop and take notice?

Do they listen to you?

Can you command the attention of a room?

If your answer is yes, then you understand what it means to have an executive presence. If not, then it’s time to find your powerful voice.

Executive Presence

The Center for Talent Innovation, a nonprofit research organization, completed a study on leadership. The results of the study showed that the perception of leadership is essential for promotion to executive leadership.

268 senior executives took part in the survey and stated that having an executive presence accounts for 26% of what it requires gaining promotion.

66% of the senior executives surveyed identified core characteristics of executive presence as the ability to project confidence, stay poised under pressure, show decisiveness and gravitas.

Communication and appearance are also characteristics of executive presence. Communication includes assertiveness, speaking skills, and the ability to read situations and an audience.

Those who can communicate with a powerful voice exude magnetism and can easily influence others.

People who have an executive presence speak up, use clear language, and communicate with energy and passion. These persons show verbal and written communication skills: an authoritative tone and positive body language.

The Struggle

We know that there is still a gap in the presence of women in the boardroom. Women and people of color struggle to get into the C-suite because the corporate culture has historically been the stronghold of white men. Also, women often receive confusing and contradictory feedback, making it difficult to make needed changes.

Harvard Business Review found that many high-powered women who are effective in their positions stumble in meetings and the boardroom. Admired by their colleagues, these women are inspirational, yet they struggle because they don’t use their voices to assert their opinions.

Part of finding your voice is in using your voice to network and become more comfortable with your colleagues. The article continues that these women often become defensive when challenged; Preventing them from communicating effectively. These hard-working women arrive on time and leave immediately at the conclusion of the meeting, while the men arrive early to network and hang around to finish their conversations.   

Find Your Voice

You can enhance your executive presence by finding your powerful voice. Discovering your voice requires a willingness to deal with unpredictable situations typical of the leadership responsibilities at an executive level, self-confidence, and learning new behaviors.  

To start, ask people you trust to provide honest feedback. Avoid asking people who will hesitate or try to approach feedback carefully.

It’s important for you to know how others perceive your presentation skills, because how can you hone your skills without knowing what needs improvement?

Public speaking is an essential part of any leadership position. If you want to become a member of the C-suite, you need to communicate effectively and powerfully.

Find your powerful voice. Identify your personal communication assets, such as speaking and thinking quickly on your feet, listening, and maintaining composure under pressure.

We have a free resource to help you develop your powerful voice. 


Simard, S. C. C. (2016, April 29). Research: Vague Feedback Is Holding Women Back. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2016/04/research-vague-feedback-is-holding-women-back.