Beyond Fashion Forward

What women aren't being told about executive presence

Fashionistas would have women believe that what we wear, the accessories we use and how we look are keys to executive presence. Why? Because that’s how they sell products - and most of us know by now that women make or influence 85% of all consumer purchases. But in the context of executive presence, this emphasis on personal appearance leads women astray. Appearance isn’t the same as executive presence. Presentation skills aren’t the sole factor in executive presence. And, further, executive presence is different from personal presence. So what aren't women being told about executive presence.

Before revealing the secret, it helps to understand Personal Presence as distinct from Executive Presence. Many people have personal presence; TV and movie stars, politicians, social movement leaders, speakers, preachers and others. They need personal presence because they must be comfortable being in the limelight. For this reason, personal presence can be defined as the ability to comfortably draw and hold attention while delivering a message.

But, do movie stars, speakers, preachers, social movement leaders have executive presence. Most senior managers, executives and directors would say no. So, there must be a difference between personal presence and executive presence. Here it is…

Lead ON!
Susan Colantuono is CEO of Leading Women and author of No Ceiling, No Walls. She blogs on networking for PINK Magazine. Follow her on Twitter.
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