I'd like some help with specific steps on how to improve "executive presence" or "command presence".  This has been identified as an area of improvement on previous reviews, yet when I have asked for more details on how to improve in this area, I tend to get general statements that are not actionable.  I've found some OK stuff online in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article ( that lists the following items:

  • Candor: The appearance of honesty, through the willingness and skill to constructively tell it like it is.
  • Clarity: The ability to tell your story in an intuitively clear and compelling way.
  • Openness: The appearance of not prejudging, of being willing to consider another's point of view.
  • Passion: The expression of commitment, motivation, and drive that shows people you really believe in what you do.
  • Poise: The look of sophistication, conveying a background of education and experience.
  • Self-confidence: The air of assurance, such that others know you have the required strength and resolve.
  • Sincerity: The conviction of believing in and meaning what you say.
  • Thoughtfulness: The projection of thinking or of having thought through something before responding.
  • Warmth: The appearance of being accessible to others and of being interested in them.

I don't disagree with any of these, yet I'm not sure how to specifically improve the perception of these items. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks.

12string's picture
Training Badge

 Without seeing you in action, I would have a tough time helping you out.  I do have a manager that was demoted when I came on board. (I was hired to take his place).  He was promoted because of his time in the job and he is extremely good with numbers and inventory controls.  He was demoted because of his lack of relational skills.  Right now I am coaching him on personal skills in our O3s.  I started with body posture, facial expressions, how he starts conversations, and what information to talk about... 

My DR tends to look at the floor.  He starts conversations disturbingly quiet.  His facial expressions are minimal.  And the information he shares is minimal, even to the president of the company. 

It might help to get some impressions from your superiors (or colleagues).  What imagery do they get when you come into the room?  This might help you figure out how your behaviors are interpreted.

Again, without knowing your DiSC profile or seeing you behave, I'm sure most advice would lack luster.  hope this helps.


thebeezer's picture

Thanks for the response 12string.  You make some good points about your DR.  I know one issue I have is looking people in the eye - it's a cultural issue that I am actively trying to improve.  I would likely say that my body language and facial expressions tend to be minimal unless I'm revved up.

I'm a high C that has tended more towards the "quiet leader" persona to some extent.  MT has really helped me to see the importance of improving relationships.   I communicate more than in the past thanks to the Trinity framework and the specifics on how to communicate effectively. 

I don't have much direct feedback on this area so I will look to get some more specifics that I can take action on. 

12string's picture
Training Badge

 Just a thought...try practicing smiling as you enter rooms, and remind yourself to smile often - especially in conversations. I know quite a few high 'C's, and most of them look angry, even when they aren't because they hardly ever smile.

Also, when you start conversations, try starting conversations by talking about something besides work (How's Debbie, John?  She had a surgery last week, right?  --something to that effect).

I would have a tough time working without any feedback.  My hat's off to you.


jhack's picture

As Mark would say, you can't "do" presence.   Here are some things you _can_ do:  

- Make eye contact with everyone as you enter the room (as mentioned above) and keep regular eye contact throughout.  


- Hold you head up and keep your back straight.  The pose you might have if you were looking slightly above the horizon.   

- Improve your handshake (

- State your conclusion first, then followup with supporting data.  (High C's can struggle with this one) 

- Improve your conversation skills ( ) 

These may seem simple, but if you do all the above well, you will be perceived as having "presence" - and you can then start to add some additional skills.  (check these out: and this one:  and many of us would benefit from a "how to enter a room" podcast... )

John Hack

thebeezer's picture

Thank you both for your comments.  You both identified a key thing that I don't do well, and that is smile frequently.  I do tend to be one of those "angry-looking" high-Cs that 12strings referred to.  JHack, you picked out another thing I do too often and that is not leading with my conclusion when attempting to persuade.  I think those are two good things to focus on for now.  I appreciate the help!

430jan's picture

I just want to give you a big "atta boy" for looking for concrete ways to improve your work performance in this way. It is so discouraging to receive advice that can't be acted on. Your career advice article clip is a beautiful example of the nebulous nature of most career advice. How on earth am I supposed to look like I'm full of candor or clarity? Everything on the list is a conclusion that others will draw based on your behaviors....but the effective behaviors are nowhere to be found! John has linked you to such excellent podcasts that will help you with effective behaviors. It may not feel natural, but it sure will feel good when your staff responds.


thebeezer's picture

Thank you Janet for your encouragement.