6 Tips For Developing Executive Presence

While attending the SHRM Annual Conference, I attended a session led by Author and Communications Expert Dianna Booher titled “Creating Executive Presence: Communicate with Confidence in the C-Suite”.


As an Executive Coach who works with leaders to improve their skills and grow in their careers, it’s not uncommon for me to work with an otherwise successful leader who just doesn’t have the charisma or “it factor” that some are blessed which naturally compels people to follow them.

Thankfully, all hope is not lost, and Ms. Booher’s session provided some great tips about how changing some of the physical aspects of one’s delivery style can make an immediate and noticeable difference in communicating with confidence, style and substance.

What Does Executive Presence Look Like?

To demonstrate her point, two members of the audience were invited up onto the stage to give a 60-second presentation about a project they were currently working on to the audience of several hundred.

Following their short speech, Ms. Booher took each person to the side of the stage, and provided just 30 seconds of coaching. Then, they were asked to deliver their presentation once again using the tips she had provided.

The first brave volunteer walked up to the stage with confidence, but once she faced the crowd and began to speak, she seemed to sink into the back of the stage and spoke very softly. When her time was up and the brief coaching was provided, she tried again. This time she looked out into the crowd, walked to the front of the stage, and shared her project once again.

When asked for feedback on the difference in the two presentations, audience members commented that the speaker was perceived as more confident, strong, engaging – and even “more beautiful”. (Huh? Not sure about that one.)

The second volunteer shared a brief story about the need to get in better physical shape in order to begin playing tennis with his college age son, so they could spend more time together. While sharing his story, he was casual, smiled and stood right in the center of the stage looking out across the room at the entire audience. He seemed comfortable enough, but after 30 seconds of coaching, he walked strongly to the left of the stage, poke about his challenge, moved to the right of the stage, and shared his plan to succeed. He also sprinkled in a few bits of humor during his delivery that engaged the audience in his story.

Once again, the feedback from the audience was that his second presentation was strong, confident, funny and focused. Unfortunately for him, no comments about his physical appearance, but we definitely liked him.

6 Tips To Demonstrate Executive Presence

So what were some of the secrets shared with the audience volunteers in 30 seconds of coaching that made such a difference? Booher’s tips included:

  • Use random, sustained eye contact with several members of the audience. Focus on a few people here and there while speaking. “If you’re looking at everyone in the room – you’re looking at no one in the room”.
  • Make sure that your body language is strong and confident in order to project that with your tone – because your voice always follows your body language.
  • Before you start to speak, stand up and stand still for 5 seconds. Doing so will make you look very much in control.
  • When addressing a large group from a stage – walk out: stand still for 5 seconds, then start speaking by making eye contact with one person in the far corner of the group to the left, and then one person in the far corner of the room to the right.
  • Gesture from the shoulder rather than from the elbow or the wrist because these types of moves make you look more powerful.
  • Use your space purposely. Stand still. Make a point. Move as you transition to the next point. Then stand still, make a point, move, etc.

Based on the impromptu demonstrations shared in the session today, it was easy to see how implementing these tips into your speaking style can make a difference in how you’re perceived by the audience.

The really good news is that you’re not out of luck if you’re not born with “executive presence”. Like most things, with intention and practice, it can be developed!

Look Mom! I’m Going to the 2009 SHRM Annual Conference!

Liveblogging Next week I’ll be in New Orleans attending the SHRM Annual Conference June 28 through July 1st – and you’ll be glad to know that I’ve already stocked up on anti-frizz products in an effort to control my hair’s natural tendency to poof to unflattering proportions in the more tropical climes…

If you’ve read my Bio or LinkedIn Profile, you know that I spent most of my career as an HR Pro before making a change in 2006 to become an Executive Recruiter/Coach & Consultant. When I worked in HR, every year I would receive the Conference brochures and devour them wishing that I could attend to learn about what was new and happening in HR, as well as to meet some of my peers. But every year, the money either wasn’t in the budget, or the few times that it was budgeted, something always came up that prevented me from attending. So I’m super excited about this opportunity to finally make the pilgrimage to the land of 10,000+ HR Pros and also to participate as a Press Blogger!

I’ll be tweeting, blogging and vlogging while at the Conference and sharing my learnings and experiences in several places. Kris Dunn, Jessica Lee and myself will be covering the Conference for Fistful of Talent and I’ll also be playing the role of “Roving Reporter” for RecruitingBlogs.com and a new website RecruitingConferences.com. I’ll link to any shenanigans I post on those sites here on Cincy Recruiter’s World, but if you’re not already subscribing to these resources – you should be!

At the Conference, there will be a ton of opportunities to learn about all of the areas of “People Strategy” that I’m consistently curious about, including Recruiting, Executive Coaching, Human Resources, Company Culture and Employment Branding and I’ve tried to select sessions to get my fill in as many of those areas as possible. Here’s my tentative schedule so far:

Sunday, June 28th
2:30 pm     Opening General Session with Jack Welch (we’re like BFF now that I follow Jack on Twitter)
5:00 pm     Press Briefing

Monday, June 29th
7:00 am     Retention Before Hiring, After Hiring and Long-Term Retention Strategies
10:45 am   Creating a Great Place to Work: Lessons from the 2009 ’50 Best Small & Medium Companies to Work for in America’
12:00 pm   Lunch with Kris Dunn & Jessica Lee
2:00 pm     How Your Web Site Can Be Your #1 Recruiting Tool
4:00 pm     Creating Executive Presence: Thinking on Your Feet
6:00 pm     Yahoo! HotJobs VIP Party

Tuesday, June 30th
7:00 am     Strategic Interviewing Practices
10:45 am   How to Give a Butt-Kicking Presentation
2:15 pm     Employment Branding: Branding Your Organization To Attract & Retain A-Level Talent
6:00 pm     Tweetup at Ruth Chris Steak House

Wednesday, July 1st
10:00 am   Become a Talent Magnet: How to Entice, Endear & Engage Top Talent
11:30 am   HR Blogger Panel: Kris Dunn, Jessica Lee, Laurie Ruettimann & Lance Haun

You should also check out some of the other bloggers who will be attending the Conference. I’ve linked to their Twitter profiles below, as well as their most recent posts about their Conference plans:

Lance HaunYour HR Guy: Updated SHRM 2009 Schedule

Sharlyn LaubyHR Bartender: The Big Easy

Jessica LeeJessica Lee Writes: New Orleans…Here I Come!

Michael LongThe Red Recruiter: SHRMing Out With Twitter

Laurie RuettimannPunk Rock HR: Social Media, Human Resources & SHRM

Mary Ellen SlayterSmartBlog on Workforce: My SHRM Schedule

Mark StelznerInflexion Advisors: HR Gone Wild – SHRM 2009

UPDATE: Thanks to Brett Farmiloe of Jobing.com for making me aware of his post 5 Ways To Participate in SHRM 2009 From the Office on ERE.net. Good tips for those who must stay home!

You can catch me tweeting as @CincyRecruiter and follow all “real time” Conference tweets via Twitter Search here with the hashtag #SHRM09. (You don’t even have to sign up for Twitter to do so!)

If you’ll be attending the Conference, I’d love to meet you there! You
can get my contact information by texting JENNIFERM to 50500 (via

ERE Social Recruiting Summit 2009 – Recap, Resources & Tweets

Despite the challenges created by modern-day air travel (really, how many times in one trip can you be delayed by planes missing a part, having malfunctioning parts or a baggage crew who "forgets" to load the plane?), I've returned safely and inspired from the ERE Social Recruiting Summit held on June 16, 2009 at the Google Campus in beautiful Mountain View, California! Alas, no Google Goats were sighted during my brief stay. Apparently after an organizing attempt by PETA and demands for perks and free benefits, they've been unceremoniously relocated…

Click on the link below to view a brief video recap of my experience:

Cincy Recruiter's ERE Social Recruiting Summary Recap 6 17 09 on Vimeo

I must say that the crew from ERE did a fantastic job of assembling a full day of content with great speakers! They should also be highly praised for live streaming the Conference to allow those who were not able to attend to participate "live" and for many to be able to view the content in the future.

I'm sharing links below to the presentations, as well as some selected Tweets shared by Conference attendees and others in the Twitterverse who were either watching the live feeds or "listening in" via the Twitter "hashtag" #socialrecruiting. Lots of great stuff here. Take some time to check out the slide decks and videos – as well as the links to all of the blogs and Twitter profiles!


Conference opening video (Evolution of Recruiting) shared by Susan Burns of Talent Synchronicity.

Keynote presentation by Reid Hoffman – Chairman & CEO of LinkedInSlide Deck & Video.

@lifeatmcgladrey: http://newin.linkedinlabs.com/ – Shows new LinkedIn users as they sign up. Very, very cool!

@CincyRecruiter: April 2004 LinkedIn had 500k members. Now over 42 million.

@mspecht: Every individual is a small business therefore every individual is an entrepreneur. Everyone will have an online profile

@joshuakahn: LI profiles are more authentic cuz people tend not to lie in public as much. True?

Punk Rock HR's Laurie Ruettimann – Ubiquity & Authenticity in Social Media – Slide Deck & Audio.

@CincyRecruiter: For inquiring minds – @lruettimann is adorable & TINY! Started her HR career as HR Asst at a "cream of the crap" candy co.

@ewmonster: Respect professional boundaries. "Don't tell someone else's story for them- tell your own story." Nice.

Mobile Marketing for Recruitment by Chris Hoyt and Michael MarlattSlide Deck

@masterburnett: Worldwide adults 25-34 send more text messages that they make phone calls. Not just youth

@GerryCrispin: mobile benefits: ubiquitous, immediate, private, convenient, actionable. need relevance to community to reach further

IBM Emerging Technologies Evangelist Sacha ChuaThe Awesomest Job Search Ever – Video. (also check out Sacha's many awesome presentations on Slideshare)

@CincyRecruiter: Job search of the future ~ when u go to an interview & u already "know" each other. Social media can do that

@MattAlder: This girl is so enthusiastic it's actually scaring me, then maybe that's me just being British

@TheDavidGroup: Sacha Chua: [Employees] are going to be incredible recruiters if they LOVE the company. Boss's take note

No Sacred Cows: Making Sense of Social Recruiting by Joshua Kahn

@Frannyo: BEST Quote of the day "Advertising is the price we pay for being unremarkable." (Robert Stephens)

@lruettimann: @joshuakahn advocates bacon, social media, and having back-channel conversations

@TheRecruiterGuy: @joshuakahn used Facebook page (that was created by FANS of BestBuy) to connect with job seekers AND customers.

@JohnSumser: You don't build communities, you discover them. Most important point of the day.

@CincyRecruiter: It's a post-brand perfect world. So don't pretend that u are & that this stuff isn't happening

LinkedIn Networking – Shally Steckerl – Video.

@shally: Here are the top ten reasons recruiters should create LinkedIn groups: h

@shally: Answering questions and getting “best answer” helps establish you & your team’s credibility in your area of expertise

@shally: Idea 4 using LinkedIn Events: Create “virtual career day” and invite your target prospects, + u get 2 keep attendee list!

Welcome (Back) to the Community with William UrangaSlide Deck

@JobVite: getting back to community…the biggest rewards in recruiting will come from building communities

Online Employer Reputation & Social Recruiting – Shannon Seery GudeVideo.

@masterburnett: Never let an agency draft blog content if your goal is authenticity, it shouldn't be marketing perfect

@CincyRecruiter: Have social media guidelines vs social media policies. Tell employees what they can & should do vs shouldn't

@jrl2002: Great point made about looking at your goals & then determine the best tools vs. picking the current "hot" tool of the day

Additional Summaries from Social Recruiting Summit Attendees:

– Australian HR Technology Consultant Michael Specht – Social Recruiting Summit

– Pay-It-Forward Executive Recruiter Jenny DeVaughn – Notes from the Social Recruiting Summit

– Recruiting & Social Media Consultant Paul Jacobs from New Zealand – The Social Recruiting Summit (I'm Wagging My Tail)

– Human Resources Blogger/Writer Laurie Ruettimann of Punk Rock HRToday @ Le Googles

– Jobing.com Social Media Manager Brett Farmiloe's Notes from the 2009 Social Recruiting Summit at Google HQ

– Chris Hoyt – Associate Director of Talent Attraction at AT&T – What I Leaned (and Taught) at Camp

– IBM Emerging Technologies Evangelist – Sacha Chua – Notes from the Social Recruiting Summit

Google, Goats and Recruiting – All In a Days Work

Google goats On Monday, June 15th, I’ll be attending the Social Recruiting Summit sponsored by ERE.net at Google HQ in Mountain View, CA – and I’m pretty excited about it to say the least! Here’s a brief rundown of why I’m jazzed:

  1. The Agenda/Speakers – ERE has done a great job of assembling a top-notch group of some of the sharpest tools in the box in recruiting and social media.
  2. Keynote by Reid Hoffman – CEO of LinkedIn. Apparently Reid’s going to make some special announcements about new features being introduced for Recruiters on LinkedIn. Maybe this will be one of those opportunities to say “I remember where I was when LinkedIn announced…” (or not)
  3. The opportunity to meet some of my “virtual friends” in person – many of whom have already been more than helpful to me by providing advice, tips and help via email, social networks or by phone. I’ve developed some great relationships with some really smart and helpful people in the “talent community” through LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook & blogging. However, those relationships become even more solid when we’re able to connect in person.
  4. The Social Recruiting Summit will be held at Google’s Headquarters and part of our day will include a tour. I’m looking forward to checking out some of what makes Google the former #1 in Fortune’s 100 Best Place to Work.
  5. The Google Goats. Apparently, in an effort to be more “green”, Google has hired a herd of goats to keep their campus grounds neat and tidy. There’s just not much more in the world that this Farm Girl would want right now than a photo op with one of the Google Goats. (I’m a simple girl – really.)

For those of you that weren’t able to snag one of the 200 spots before the Conference sold out, ERE is graciously providing a live video stream of the Conference here. Also, if you have a Twitter account, you can follow @socrecruiting for updates or use Twitter Search and follow the hashtag #socialrecruiting here.

I’ll be taking lots of notes and likely have some good fodder for future blog posts. So stay tuned for the really juicy stuff…

Stand Off uploaded by Kevin