As a leading lady, it can be a challenge to be taken seriously in meetings, whether the situation is with a full board of male executives, in a room with your new team, or an unfamiliar setting. A recent article from Ellevate discussed the idea behind “executive presence” and varying definitions of the concept. We want every woman to feel empowered to create her own executive presence , so we’re giving you our top tips on how to embrace your strengths and inspire and empower other Leading Ladies in your workplace.
Dress and act the part
This may seem obvious, but the saying holds true – dress for the job you want. If you are presenting to a board of executives, a leadership team, or manager, dress the part. Your attire and how you present yourself will be the first thing anyone notices, before your presentation even begins. This advice is not limited to leading ladies, we’d recommend dressing the part to an employee looking to get ahead. If you bring your cellphone into the meeting with you, keep it face down to avoid any distractions. Be present and engaged always, event if you’re not speaking.
Know how to improv
This may seem odd, but as much as you prepare for your meeting, factors can change in an instant, especially if the meeting has several personalities in it. Be sure to read the room and take notice of how engaged the audience seems. It is important to prepare your notes, but it is even more important to know how to tailor your message and key points to the engagement of the audience.
You are a Leading Lady, and that is an accomplishment in and of itself. On top of that, we know you have many accomplishments and achievements under your belt. Be proud of them and speak from your experience through the confidence that has gotten you into the room to this point. You are in the meeting for a reason, prove it and don’t be afraid of coming off as gloating or conceited.
There’s nothing worse than showing up for a meeting and realizing you have no idea what is about to be discussed. Be sure you know what the meeting is going to focus on going into it, and if you are presenting you should be well prepared with your talking points. If you’re attending a meeting with a new team or department make sure you’re familiar with who will be in attendance and each person’s role.
Slow down and listen
Be sure to communicate slowly and concisely. There is no need to add fluff or small talk when it doesn’t feel appropriate. Thoroughly listen to what others are saying so that you are able to ask questions, answer questions, and have touch points to discuss later on during the meeting or during follow ups. Take notes as needed and end every meeting with clear follow up steps so everyone walks away knowing exactly what needs to happen next.
How do you exemplify executive presence as a Leading Lady? Check out our full Leading Ladies resource here for more tips and insights on being a Leading Lady in the workplace.