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What your manager wants to tell you (but probably isn’t) – executive presence, showing up in meetings…

What your manager wants to tell you (but probably isn’t) – executive presence, showing up in meetings…

Today on the Portico PR blog, we welcome a contribution from a guest blogger, Rachael Bosch, on the subject of executive presence.

Even the most proficient and prolific team members can be passed over for promotion if they lack executive presence (EP). 

The Center for Talent Innovation defines EP as a dynamic, cohesive mix of appearance, communication, and gravitas. And yet, more often than not, managers place greater priority on providing feedback on tasks while failing to address executive presence. In doing this, the management of a team is confused with the management of tasks.

Why are our managers so focused on tasks? 

Project management is riddled with opportunity for feedback – there are benchmarks and specific task-oriented goals to achieve. Not only that, it is easy to give concrete examples of growth opportunities in task-oriented work. Managers often shy away from providing feedback on presence because the task and goals are much harder to define. In many cases, these kinds of discussions can feel awkward if they’re not couched appropriately. 

So, what is a young professional to do? 

Ask. Yes, it is just that simple. Millennials may feel most comfortable with this feedback model, but we can all continue to gather feedback and identify blind spots on our way to achieving a strong professional presence. For those of you who are less comfortable approaching your manager to discuss your executive presence, we suggest the following:

  • Be timely: Ask following a low-pressure meeting where you had (or could have had) visibility. You want time to incorporate feedback before a major meeting so check in after a meeting that has lower stakes. How were your contributions to the meeting perceived by those in the room? Should have you have spoken more/less? Were there any verbal tics that you exhibited that may have undermined your authority?
  • Be specific: It can be difficult for managers to answer broad sweeping questions about a team member’s presence. We encourage you to ask about specific areas of presence to allow your manager to provide useful and targeted feedback. Are there ways that you could convey a more professional demeanor in the workplace? Is your communication (verbal and written) relaying the right tone? What characteristics do you project in your work? 
  • Be open: Asking about your executive or professional presence can feel oddly personal. As the business world increasingly relies on relationships and communication. Professional presence is a critical and defining factor for increased access to leadership roles in most organizations. The only way to develop a strong executive presence is to be open to feedback and willing to adjust as needed to reach your potential.

We all have blind spots when it comes to our own executive presence. 

If you are wondering how you can continue to make the best impression with your colleagues and clients, we encourage you to start a conversation and seek feedback from your manager and team.  


About the Author

Rachael Bosch, Executive Presence

Rachael Bosch

Rachael Bosch is an advocate for millennials in the workforce and enjoys working with those starting their career journey. Over the course of her career, which includes more than ten years in the legal industry and a background in performance and vocalization  she has developed and executed numerous training programs.  She speaks to law students on the topics of executive presence and presentation best practices. By integrating her work inside some of the top global law firms with the tools needed for strong and compelling presentations, Rachael has been able to successfully guide many attorneys through the early stages of their career.

Rachael is a respected member of the legal recruiting and career development field and is actively involved in regional and national trade associations for this group.

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