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11 things you can do in 10 minutes or less today to increase your executive presence tomorrow

Having a strong executive presence is the difference between making an impact and feeling like you’re just going through the motions. Good work and good intentions alone won’t propel your career forward.

To make things happen, you need to master your own emotions, have a clear and compelling point of view, and be able to bring others along.

“She was born with it” is a common misbelief. In fact, the opposite is true. Executive presence is a collection of skills that can be learned and improved.

Executive presence is all about your ability to project confidence, establish credibility, and inspire trust in professional interactions.There are things you can do today to try and you’ll notice a difference tomorrow.

I’ve broken down these skills into the three pillars I believe are essential for a strong executive presence:

Emotional Management

  1. Set a timer on your phone to do a 1-minute check-in with yourself every two hours. Just ask, “What am I feeling right now?” No action is required, we’re just building awareness.
  2. Before your next meeting, take a deep breath, pause in the doorway, plant your feet if you’re dialing in, and smile as you enter.
  3. Challenge yourself to sit still and fully focus on the speaker for 5 minutes before giving in to that urge to check your phone or email. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll hear, I promise.
  4. Send a brief email to your manager, highlighting a recent team accomplishment.

Thought Leadership

  1. Share one alternative suggestion or idea during a team discussion that opens up a different way of thinking.
  2. Dedicate 10 minutes to browse an industry news site.
  3. Set a timer and brainstorm as many possible solutions to a cross-company problem. Lack of collaboration? Challenge yourself to come up with as many ideas as possible to break down silos. The trick? Don’t censor yourself before you get them out.

Leading Others

  1. Jot down three tasks for the day and prioritize them based on importance. Then, call a 15-minute stand-up meeting with your team. Share your priorities and ask for others’ input, then get to it. As a leader, focus is one of the greatest gifts you can give your team.
  2. Do a brief impromptu check-in for one staff member you sense needs or wants to hear from you “just to see how they’re doing.” Keep it casual at a ten-minute maximum.
  3. Roll up your sleeves and help a team member get unstuck on a specific task or project.
  4. Spend ten minutes brainstorming an achievable short-term career goal that you might engage your team in and work on together.

Your next steps

Improving your executive presence is a skill and building it is easier than you think. Unlike other professional development activities, the payoff can be immediate.

These small, actionable steps in emotional management, thought leadership, and leading others can make a big difference in your impact.

Remember you don’t have to tackle them all at once. Start with one or two that resonate with you today and notice how you feel and how others are reacting to you tomorrow.

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