Leadership Presence: How to Best Present Yourself in Any Situation

Definitions of leadership abound, ranging from managerial to visionary, from charismatic to stately. Most people agree that effective, authentic leadership requires a creative combination of substance and style. But schools and organizations typically emphasize the importance of substance and competency. The way we present our expertise to others, our “style,” is often a distant second, if it's considered at all.

How professionals present themselves is just as essential to their success as their expertise. If you’ve worked hard, yet find it difficult to be taken seriously as a qualified professional, it may be that your style doesn’t match the level of your expertise. Style is often overlooked as an aspect of power and effectiveness, but it's key to building confidence and success, and to demonstrating your authentic self.

Here at The Leadership Style Center, a business focused on helping women become more effective leaders, we've identified three of the most overlooked components of becoming an effective leader.

Visual Presence

The way you show up in a room, even before you speak, communicates volumes about who you are. Visual Presence consists of your appearance, facial expression, and body language. You can build trust and respect without saying a word. It's that visceral reaction that people have to you, that colors everything that follows—for better or worse.

Verbal Presence

Once you engage in conversation your Verbal Presence becomes important. Your conversations with others have tremendous impact and can make or break your ability to lead. Understanding how you, and the people you're talking to, deliver (and take in) verbal information is critical to having authentic, effective conversations.

Visual Communication

When you're not physically present you lead through your print and electronic pages. They must do more than simply deliver words. If your page doesn't engage your reader before they read, they won't it read at all. Visual Communication, the visual aspect of your page, is how people decide what to read. It's also their first impression of your message.

Leadership Presence is the seamless integration of these aspects of Visual and Verbal Presence, and strengthens your ability to demonstrate your substance and competency.

The Leadership Style Center team, Diane Parente, founder; Karen Anderson Peters, M.A., associate; and Nancy Webb, associate and owner of Nancy Webb Graphic Design, will offer individual insights for improving your Leadership Presence in future guest posts on the Robert Half Finance & Accounting blog.