There are many books on executive presence that offer models for developing presence, albeit with some overlap.
Three of the best books I recommend are:
- Leadership Presence: Dramatic Techniques to Reach Out, Motivate and Inspire, by Kathy Lubar and Belle Linda Halpern (Penguin Group, 2004)
- The Power of Presence: Unlock Your Potential to Influence and Engage Others, by Kristi Hedges (Amacom, 2012)
- Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success, by Sylvia Ann Hewlett (HarperBusiness, 2014)
Lubar and Halpern developed the “PRES” model in Leadership Presence that you might find helpful:
P = Presence is the ability to be completely in the moment and flexible enough to handle the unexpected
R = Reaching Out is the ability to build relationships with others through empathy, listening and authentic connection
E = Expressiveness is the ability to express feelings and emotions appropriately by using all available means (words, voice, body, face) to deliver one congruent message
S = Self-Knowing is the ability to accept yourself, be authentic and reflect your values in your decisions and actions
These elements build upon each other and contribute to forming overall presence. There are interior and exterior aspects for each component. In their model, presence starts with mindset and radiates outward toward others.
Also important is what the PRES model is not:
not pretentious but being present
not looking down but reaching out
not impressive but being expressive
not self-absorbed but being self-knowing
Self-knowledge is a key aspect that separates leadership presence from self-centered charisma. You must understand your values and ensure your actions conform to them (words and deeds). Only then can you inspire others to act similarly.
Few leaders talk openly about their core values, strengths and guiding purpose. Your executive presence depends on how well you communicate your intentions and purpose, as well as how you spend your energy and enthusiasm.
Most of us need to step out of our comfort zones and be more expressive and vulnerable about our intentions, feelings, passions, purpose and values. Perhaps we fear being too exposed.
Finding the right balance of competency and humanity, reaching out to others, building trust and expressing empathy for each leader leads to stronger executive presence.