executive presence

Gravitas & Power Questions

Gravitas is the elusive quality of being taken seriously. In a meeting, when you speak, do people spontaneously quiet down, listen to you, and take notes? If so, you have gravitas. If not, you have an opportunity to increase your executive presence so your ideas get taken more seriously. In every meeting, there are two [...]

How to Be Taken Seriously

In a meeting, two people can express the exact same idea, and one will be overlooked while the other will be taken seriously. If you’re like me, you’ve witnessed this phenomenon your entire career. You may have even been the person whose ideas were overlooked. Why does this happen? Clearly, the reaction you receive is [...]

How to Be Insightful

In a meeting, you’ll notice the some people’s ideas automatically get taken seriously while others do not. This dynamic occurs due to two reasons — one obvious, one less so. First, some people come up with bad ideas — ideas that are impractical, logically incorrect, or deeply flawed. These ideas should legitimately be discounted. But, [...]

The Power of Influence

In any company, there are broad categories of power. One is formal authority. The other is influence. When you lead an organization of 500 employees, you have formal authority. Your 500 employees will listen to you because you have the power to fire them if they don’t. That’s formal authority. When you’re so deeply respected [...]

Power for the Powerless

In industry, whether your ideas get taken seriously depends on more than the quality of your thoughts. If the receptionist shares an idea and the CEO shares the exact same idea, more people will take the idea seriously when it comes from the CEO. Most people intuitively grasp the last sentence to be true but [...]

Overcoming Bias & Prejudice

In every country, industry, and organization, there exist two categories of people. The first category is high-status individuals. The second is low-status. Your status is determined by your ethnicity, gender, educational, achievement, and job title. If you’re in a low-status position, your ideas will automatically be perceived as less valid, less correct, and less influential [...]

Gravitas for Non-Executives

You want executives in your company to see you as a peer. This perception gives you enormous clout and credibility and is especially useful if you’re not yet an executive. To develop this kind of relationship with others, you must develop executive presence or gravitas. When you develop this ability, the room quiets down when [...]

The Importance of Executive Presence

When I was in my first year at McKinsey, one of my Engagement Managers gave me some feedback. He said, “You’re smart, you’ve got the analytics, but you come across like you’re young and inexperienced.” My response was, “Well… that’s because I AM young and inexperienced!” He said, “That’s irrelevant.” “Rather than think of yourself [...]