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The Introverted Executive Podcast is focused on helping Introverted women working within large organizations, rise to senior leadership -- WITHOUT networking. If you're tired of feeling overlooked and underestimated while you make it all happen behind the scenes, this is the podcast for you!

Mar 12, 2018

Show Notes for Genuine Driven Women Episode #9

Executive Presence

This is Episode #9 and I am Tami along with my co-host, Adalida.  On today’s show we are going to talk about how to improve your “Executive Presence”.

 According to Suzanne Bates, author of the book, All the Leader You Can Be, executive presence is the “ability of the leader to engage, align, inspire, and move people to act”.   Sylvia Ann Hewlitt, the author of Executive Presence, defines it as “A measure of image:  whether you signal to others that you are star material. If you are able to crack the EP code, you’ll be first in line for that next plum assignment and be given the chance to do something extraordinary with your life.”  The average person may think EP is the way you dress or the ability to give a speech or presentation to a large group.  It is a lot more than that though, if all you do is dress the way you believe an executive should dress at your workplace, and do not consider any other aspects, you may come off as not authentic.  You may even come off kind of awkward, or kind of funny…  Think of the adorable little girl dressed up in her mommy’s church dress, pearls, and high heels.  This might be cute for a child, but it is NOT what we are going for when we try to improve our Executive Presence.  

EP is A LOT more than outward appearances.  This is why this topic is so important.  Suzanne Bates breaks down her EP concept into 15 facets of presence and influence, that are also divided into three broad categories, Character, Substance, and Style.  In Sylvia Ann Hewlitt’s book, Executive Presence, she believes that EP can be divided into three main headings, Gravitas, Communication, and Appearance.  Let’s talk about some of these so you get the idea about what Executive Presence really is, with some concrete action steps you can take to begin improving your own EP!


Let’s start with Sylvia Ann Hewlitt’s idea of Gravitas:

  1. Exuding confidence and “grace under fire”
  2. Acting decisively and “showing teeth”
  3. Showing integrity and “speaking truth to power”
  4. Demonstrating emotional intelligence
  5. Right-sizing your reputation
  6. Projecting vision

Here are a few ideas on how to improve your “Gravitas”:

o   Surround yourself with people who are better than you.

o   Stick to what you know (don’t claim to know something you don’t know, if you are wrong it will cost you in the gravitas area.)

o   Show humility

o   Empower other’s presence to build your own

o   Drive change, rather than be changed


Communication includee key verbal and non-verbal abilities (Sylvia Ann Hewlitt): 

  1. Superior speaking skills
  2. Ability to command a room
  3.    Ability to read an audience
  4.    Forcefulness and assertiveness
  5.    Sense of humor and the ability to banter
  6.    Body language

Here are a few ideas on how to improve your Communication Skills:

o   Ditch verbal crutches (um, like, you know, etc.)  Allow yourself to pause instead

o   Broaden your small talk

o   Get control of your voice

o   Overprepare

o   Learn to present without props (notes, etc.)

o   Do not allow challenges to your authority to go unanswered

 Appearance counts, largely as a filter through which your communication skills and gravitas become more apparent. Central to looking like a leader is (Sylvia Ann Hewlitt): 

  1. Being polished and well groomed
  2. Physical attractiveness, slim, fit
  3. Simple stylish clothes that position you for your next promotion

 Here are a few tips for improving your appearance:

o   It’s not how good your look, it is how appropriate you look for your audience.

o   If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t

o   Stay in costume to stay in character.  (Don’t leave you suit jacked on the back of your door “in case” someone important comes by.) You never know when that will happen.

o   Don’t let bangles and bling steal your show (anything that draws attention away from your message is NOT giving the best you a chance to shine.)

o   When you are the CEO – you can make (and change) the rules.  Until then, while you are still on your path, you should understand the expectations of your workplace. ­­

 Time Machine:  

In this segment each week we will give a few points about women that have accomplished a lot! We also will discuss a bit about what was happening to women during the time periods. Someone we think you would like to know more about is:


Helen Keller

  1. She was born with sight and hearing but around the time she was two she lost both to an illness they then called “brain fever” Although she had these two disabilities she was able to overcome them, help others with disabilities, and was appointed counselor of international relations for the American Foundation of Overseas Blind in her later life.
  2. Helen began learning from the educator Anne Sullivan. It took some time but she eventually was able to learn how to spell words with her fingers and also understand the objects that the words went with.
  3. After this she went on to learn speech, which took her about 25 years, so she would be able to communicate with everyone, so they would be able to understand her.
  4. In the website that is referenced below they talk about how Helen, “became a well-known celebrity and lecturer by sharing her experiences with audiences, and working on behalf of others living with disabilities.” She spent the rest of her life trying to help others in need.


Inspirational Quote of the Week:

“I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow. When there’s that moment of ‘Wow, I’m not really sure I can do this,’ and you push through those moments, that’s when you have a breakthrough.”

-Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO

  • I sometimes run into quotes that have to do with something that I thought happened in my life, and I think that this quote touches on that for me. There have been many times in my college career where I thought I couldn’t do something, but I continued on with it and I ended up being able to complete many goals because I didn’t give up. This probably applies to other listeners as well, when you feel you have hit a rough patch, keep trying because once you’ve been able to get past that point, everything is better.


Book Review:

Genuine driven women read lots of books!  We’ll make sure to recommend a book each week that will inspire you or help you on your journey to success!

This week’s book is:  Executive Presence

Written by:  Sylvia Ann Hewlett

We already discussed this book in the main topic. If you want to buy this book, you can click through to the show notes and there you will find the link.

To buy the book (available in several formats):


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Ok, ladies - it's time to get out there and be the best YOU that YOU can be!