I’m sure we all know that female leader who walks into the room and owns it. Don’t you secretly wish you could be in her shoes and display that same level of confidence someday? As women, (especially women of colour) we tend to shy away from being visible at work. We tend to follow the crowd even when we are qualified and have years of experience. However, it’s time we stop holding ourselves back and learn how to enhance or build our executive presence.
The truth is no one ever started off their career confident. Confidence is learned, earned and best gained by action. As the famous saying goes ‘Don’t wait till you are confident to show up, show up until you are confident’.
On that note, here are 5 ways you can build executive presence, be more confident and own your next meeting at work:
Know your onions
Never go into a meeting unprepared and never leave a meeting without saying something. You should not miss an opportunity to speak with confidence, especially when you are given the room to do so.
Work on your posture
It’s in the little things; the slouched shoulders, head down, clumsy walk. Sis, you need to stop. Head held high, shoulders up, eye contact and a confident strut gives you an edge at any meeting and lets people know you have come prepared.
Own the room
When giving a presentation, present your facts with confidence. Speak clearly and not in a rushed tone. Don’t forget the fact that you are an expert and in control. Let your body language and composure align. Remember at that very moment, you are in charge and people will listen to what you have to say.
Use action words- stop using words that seek permission
Learn how to use actions words during your work meetings. For example, why not ditch words like ‘if’ for ‘when’? So instead of saying:
- “If the Board approves we will do ________”
- you can say “When the Board approves, we will _________”
Do you hear the huge difference that already makes? Your word-choice will not only make you look confident it will also cause you to feel like it too.
Quit negative self-talk
You need to give yourself permission to be the best you can be. I’ve found that affirmations and positive words are a huge boost when you feel nervous. So, the next time you have to give a presentation, convince the management team or speak up at that high-powered meeting, don’t forget to say to yourself “I’ve got this”.
Executive presence can be mastered by anyone. All you need to do is to give it a go. Are you ready to start showing up as the confident version of yourself? I’m rooting for you.