Stepping Into the Spotlight: Mastering the Presence of a Top Executive

Head turners. We all know a few—those people who walk into the room and without even looking at them, you know they are there. What is it that makes them so special? What is it that causes people to glance their way or crowd around them? The simplest explanation: these people have PRESENCE.


Anyone who ever successfully assumed a leadership role understands that SEEING YOURSELF as a LEADER is just as important as others seeing you as one. Before anyone will see you as an executive deserving the highest respect, you must first believe it yourself. Set the intention right now that you are going to do everything you can to develop the traits of a magnetic person.

It may sound silly, but the most successful leaders and influencers visualize themselves in those roles on a regular basis. If you want to exude executive presence, you must do the same. That means WRITING DOWN YOUR GOALS and VISUALIZING them daily. See yourself as a strong leader owning the room. Surround yourself with the kind of people who have charismatic personalities, and emulate what they do.


Those with executive presence have confidence in themselves and also WIN THE CONFIDENCE OF THOSE AROUND THEM. For instance, think of Tom Brady. Even though he didn’t play much at Michigan and was a 6th Round Draft Pick for the New England Patriots, he never lost confidence in himself. For a long time, he was the hardest working member of the squad, winning the coveted parking spot several years in a row. Charlie Weis, as the offensive coordinator at the time, saw this special trait in Brady and thus started to believe in him. When the opportunity to perform presented itself, Brady stepped up to the challenge. Now when Brady commands the pocket, his teammates listen, trust and comply. He is a natural leader, and his confidence allows him to positively influence his teammates, coaches, and subsequently, his fans.


People who have an ability to influence others typically do so in a CLEAR & COMPELLING MANNER. Being able to influence others necessitates that they are able to hear & understand you. If you are unclear in any way, you can instantly lose the ability to command the attention of a room. Similarly, credibility is necessary for others to trust you. Speaking with conviction conveys a sense of authority and truth. Not to mention, one of the greatest ways to remain credible is to admit when you do not know something. If you find yourself doing this often, it may be time to do some more research, but people generally have a heightened level of respect for those who remain authentic.


APPEARANCE is a huge part of your level of executive presence. Typically, people will see you long before they hear you or meet you. That means that the first impression they get of you will be based on how you look—dress, posture, walk, facial expressions. Starting with your wardrobe, choose what to wear based on your audience. If you are attending or speaking at a business event, dress professionally in dark colors that command authority. Alternatively, if it is a charity event at a sports game, something a bit more casual, but still polished will fit. Always aim to be in attire that represents about 10% more professionalism than the event you are attending.

Next, be aware of your body language. Keep your shoulders back with strong posture and lean in slightly when you shake hands with others. It is not just the person you are meeting with who is experiencing you, but also everyone who is watching. Walk with confidence, stretching yourself to your greatest height, and don’t forget to SMILE.


The people we often think of as having executive presence are the ones we go to for perspective and opinions. They convey a level of STRENGTH & WISDOM that compels us to seek them out and trust them. Wisdom by definition comes with time, but the best way to develop this ability is to open your doors to allow others to come to you. First, think about something you are good at that you can offer to others, like being a really great crisis manager or technology buff. Then, find ways to display that you are available. This may be the simple act of stopping by a couple of offices down the hall you often walk by without thinking. Other times, you can send off a couple of notes to people in your network to check in and offer your counsel at any point. Most importantly, if you are offering your services and you want people to seek you out, be sure to be available when they do.


Then, there are those people who just have it. They have a presence that naturally draws others to them, seemingly with no effort of their own. These people are the lucky ones, but that does not mean we cannot all develop this type of executive presence. Just like it takes practice to master a song on the piano or a high-percentage free throw, possessing the magnetism that attracts others requires conscious commitment & repetition—welcome into the spotlight.

About Brendan P. Keegan

Brendan P. Keegan is Founder & Managing Partner of velocityHUB, a leading management consulting firm.  He is a 5-time industry leading President & CEO of large, private-equity-backed companies and served as the Fortune 100’s youngest Chief Sales Officer for EDS, a $22-billion technology industry leader.  Brendan has raised nearly $1.0 billion in capital and returned over $2.2 billion to investors through successful exit strategies. He has trained over 100,000 leaders, led nearly 50,000 employees, driven sales of over $100 billion and worked globally in over 150 countries.  Brendan was named a Distinguished Fellow by Dartmouth College, a Fast50 Executive by FastCompany, a successful entrepreneur by Enterprise Bank, Best-of-the-Best CEOs by Incentive, 100 Fastest Growing Companies by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Business of the Year by NH Business Journal, Top 10 Coach of the Year by USA Football, and Volunteer of the Year by & Youth Coach of the Year locally for his commitment to community service.  Brendan is a sought-after speaker by companies across the globe on leadership, sales and performance. He has authored over 200 articles and been published in global publications including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Business Week, Fast Company and InformationWeek.

Brendan serves on corporate boards to include Revolution Armor, Merchants Auto Group, ExpressIt Delivery, Olaeris, velocityHUB and nashuaHUB. Brendan and his wife Dana founded the Keegan Courage & Faith Foundation with the goal of giving back $1.0 million for youth education, athletics and at-risk youth across Southern New Hampshire.

About velocityHUB

velocityHUB delivers results-oriented training programs, high-value consulting and targeted executive coaching to many of the world’s leading companies, small and medium businesses, and non-profits. Our vision is to build one million leaders to drive performance, sales and revenue growth.

Contact:  Amanda E Rogers | 603.402.1734 | amanda@velocityhub.com

By | 2017-08-29T11:31:24+00:00 August 23rd, 2016|Blog|0 Comments