As a small business owner, it can be easy to only focus on improving your traditional business skills (finance management, problem solving, networking, or marketing) in order to help your company succeed. Although these abilities are essential for professionals, business owners must also possess strong leadership skills and be able to inspire their staff. In other words, it is critical that you have what is called an “executive presence”.

What is an executive presence and how can it help you to become more successful in your field? It is what a leader projects when they excel in soft skills such as empathy, calmness when under pressure, and communication. Those that possess this skill inspire confidence in their peers. 

These leaders are able to command a room, get others to listen to their voice, and can speak confidently. The reason that business owners should strive to have an executive presence is because this will allow you to gain more opportunities and will help your employees to believe in you. If you feel that you are ready to build your executive presence and take control of your business, then you should take the following steps:

1. Be yourself

This is the most important step of developing an executive presence. It is crucial that you are always genuine so that your employees can sense that you are being real and that you are not pretending to be someone you are not. 

2. Have confidence

When you have confidence, it shines through in how you present yourself and when you speak. Unfortunately, if you don’t have confidence then others will pick up on it. 

3. Act decisively

Strong leaders know that it can be beneficial to brainstorm and consult with others regarding big decisions, however, it can be costly letting discussions drift aimlessly. Once you have gathered the facts, you should move forward with making a good decision. Fast decision making is often expected of a strong leader. 

4. Learn how others see you

It is critical that you understand how others perceive you. It can be difficult to learn how others may see you, however, you should take the feedback to learn how you can improve as a leader within your company. 

5. Speak up

Don’t be afraid to speak up with your ideas and to move forward with projects. Do your best to demonstrate that you are someone who is not afraid to get the job done and that you are an important asset to the business. 

6. Learn how to manage stress

Leaders need to learn to stay positive when things do not go according to plan and need to focus their energy on looking for solutions. 

7. Sharpen your communication skills

If you have an executive presence then you should be a good communicator and listener. As you are having a conversation with someone, make sure you are engaged and are giving the individual your full attention. Be an active listener!

8. Pay attention to your appearance

This is a very obvious tip for creating an executive presence, however, it is still very important. You should always consider the saying “dress for the job you want” as you are trying to dominate your business. It is important that your clothing fits appropriately and that your appearance is not distracting to others. As you are going to events, be sure that you are dressing the part and are showing others that you are a strong leader. 

As you start to build your executive presence, it is important to note that it can take years to master, so don’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight. Keep in mind that the best leaders are lifelong learners and are always looking for ways to inspire others. In time, you will become a competent leader and will be able to bring out the best version of yourself!

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