Exuding Executive Presence

by Angela Ellis

Picture it: You walk into a room with confidence and assurance knowing that you are the right person to share information and command your audience’s attention.

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Research shows that appearance makes up 55 percent of your audience’s overall perception of you. 37 percent of their perception is based on how you sound, and 8 percent is the actual message you deliver. This doesn’t mean your message doesn’t matter. It means the group you’re speaking to is forming opinions about you before you even start talking. So the first thing you need to do is make sure that you have a professional and non-distracting appearance. Too much of anything is going to be a distraction and will not add anything positive to your presentation. That includes too much jewelry, too much makeup, and too much perfume. A jacket that’s too busy or wrist bangles that are noisy can detract from your purpose.

Make sure you understand your audience and what they are seeking from you. Know your purpose. Are you there to convince them, inform them, educate them, or negotiate with them? If you’re there to convince them, you can exude influence in a number of ways. Consider telling an inspiring story. You could share compelling statistics. Paint a picture of what the audience stands to gain or lose. If you’re there to inform them, consider what’s most important to them and what they need to know. Based on their perspectives and roles, they’ll need different levels of detail. For example, if you’re giving an executive summary your chief officers might want to know about financial impacts and Key Performance Indicators. Educating an audience involves providing definitions and examples. Audiences whom you’ll educate also need an opportunity to ask questions and gain clarity.

There will be times when you need to share your ideas or suggestions to an audience. Making a compelling recommendation to your audience is a simple 3-step process.

  1. Let them know the issue you are trying to address or the problem you’re trying to solve.
  2. Tell them the alternatives you considered as well as the pros and cons of each option.
  3. Inform them of the option you believe is best. Explain why you prefer it over the other alternatives considered. This will help to validate your decision making and thought processes supporting your recommendations.

Throughout your presentation, maintain make eye contact and call them by name. Experts say a person’s name is the sweetest sound they will ever hear. These techniques help you to engage on a more personal level with individuals, even if you don’t know them.


IAAP works with the best trainers in the industry to ensure you have relevant, engaging, practical content at your fingertips. This blog is written by a speaker with a program in the IAAP Approved Programs database. Search by name or keyword to find their contact information and book them for your Branch or Region event. 

If you’d like to attend one of these events, you can find one in your area here.


Angela Ellis is the owner of Enhance Business Solutions | She is a coach, facilitator, author and speaker | www.yourenhance.com | LinkedIn: enhancecoach | Twitter: enhancecoach

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