Boost Your Executive Presence and Presentation Skills

Diane DiResta

Welcome to another episode of The RVA Small Business Show with your host Cory Mosley. In today’s segment, we are joined by Diane DiResta CSP, Speaker, Executive Speech Coach, CEO of DiResta Communications, and Author of Knockout Presentations.

Companies hire Diane to deliver keynote speeches, seminars and workshops to train their teams in effective communication and leadership skills.

My thought is because when you’re using gestures, there’s more conviction, there’s more confidence, there’s more energy, and that’s what sells. -Diane DiResta CSP

Exploring Executive Presence

During an enlightening interview on the RVA Small Business Show, Diane peeled back the layers on executive presence, a concept that’s often recognized when seen but hard to define. She mentioned that according to Sylvia Hewlett of Hewlett Consulting, executive presence is a blend of gravitas (67%), communication (38%), and appearance (5%) – although, yes, the percentages don’t quite add up, the components are integral to the equation.

What does this mean for you? In its simplest form, cultivating an executive presence is about blending confidence, decision making, and the ability to communicate with clarity. It’s about polishing your appearance and mastering both the physical room and the increasingly prevalent digital ‘Zoom’ room.

Why It Matters

In a business context, people often struggle to climb the corporate ladder not because they lack the skills, but due to a lack of presence or confidence. As Diane pointedly shared, possessing the capability but failing to project confidence and command a room can be a substantial roadblock in your career or business growth trajectories.

Moreover, for small business owners, the significance of executive presence cannot be understated. It’s crucial not just for upward mobility in a corporate setting but for swaying potential clients or partners in your favor. From the moment you enter a room, your executive presence begins speaking before you actually do.

Strengthening Your Presence

So how do you begin to enhance this presence? Diane outlined a holistic approach:

  1. Confidence and Decision-Making: These are non-negotiable. The foundation of executive presence rests on the confidence to make and stand by your decisions, radiating strength in your convictions.
  2. Effective Communication: Clarity and brevity in communication solidify your presence. Whether it’s conversing in person or leaving a concise, impactful voicemail, how you communicate is often how you’re judged.
  3. Conscious Appearance: While the least weighted of the three, don’t disregard appearance. Looking the part can be as crucial as being competent, particularly in highly formal or traditional industries.

Adapting to both physical and virtual environments is essential in today’s hybrid world. Whether you’re commanding attention in a bustling conference room or engaging an audience through a screen, adaptability is key. Remember, it’s about owning the space, irrespective of its digital or physical nature.

Presentation: The Hidden Public Speaking Gems

Presentation encompasses far more than just the spoken word in front of an eager audience. Every interaction, including leaving a voicemail, is a miniature presentation of yourself and your brand. Diane posits that voicemails, often seen as insignificant, can be a potent tool in your communication arsenal when executed with precision.

Thinking about language, do your words exude certainty, or are they hedged with non-committal phrases like “I feel” or “hopefully”? Sharpening your language to make decisive, assertive statements reinforces your presence, compelling your listeners to take note and, crucially, action.

Playing It Safe Is Risky

Lastly, embracing change and stepping out of your comfort zone are pivotal. The digital transformation has shifted the paradigms of interaction and impression. Upholding the status quo, insisting on outdated conventional norms, or simply playing it safe, jeopardizes your ability to stand out and influence effectively.

Key Takeaways

  1. Define and Cultivate: Understand the components of executive presence and actively work on enhancing each.
  2. Beyond Verbal Communication: Remember, your presence speaks before you do. From your entrance to your attire, every aspect contributes to your overall influence.
  3. Gestures Matter: Subconscious cues, like gesture use, can greatly amplify your confidence and, by extension, others’ confidence in you.
  4. Adapt and Command: Own both physical and virtual rooms. Your ability to adapt to different settings amplifies your presence.
  5. Language Precision: Words are powerful. Choose and use them to assert certainty and direction.

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Click here to purchase your copy of “Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz”.

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