26/30 How to Cultivate Executive Presence (Get confidence from something other than work)

How To Cultivate Executive Presence

When I got to Paris last month, I went seeking confidence in understanding French. Not speaking the language. I wouldn’t manage that in a month. But comprehension. I wanted to get the gist of conversations.

As an Indian kid growing up in America, each night my family would watch Hindi films. Over time, I connected certain emotions on screen with certain words. Today I have a working comprehension of the language.

I went seeking a similar immersive language experience In Paris.  L’Atelier des Chefs is in a well travelled spot in the 1st arrondissement. I signed up for a macaron making class on a Sunday.

In a sunny, glassed-in commercial kitchen, Chef Souria Kezzouh showed us how to mix the almond flour and sugar.  We poured batter into plastic tubes. We squeezed it into little concentric circles in pana. She put them in ovens to bake. 

As she mixed, baked, and explained, I kept hearing certain words. I connected them to the action. My confidence with the French language grew a little that afternoon.

This Tuesday, I’ll be weighing in on Gino Perrotte’s class at Baruch College. This summer, he is teaching a graduate-level course on Executive Presence. As the students deliver their final sales-based presentations, I’ll offer feedback. He thought it was important the students get feedback from other professionals who understand executive presence.

Here are some of the things I”ll be looking for

🔴 Accessibility. One of the most generous things a speaker can do for an audience is be accessible. In other words, use simple language. If a concept is particularly challenging, does the speaker illustrate it using a personal story?

🔴 Appearance. Over 70 percent of your communication is non-verbal. In other words you have made an impression even before you have said one word. I’ll be looking for clues on how each student is presenting themselves in a way that reflects authority and competence.

🔴 Confidence. Sometimes your confidence in the ‘thing’ you want, has to come from something else. For me, a better grasp of the French language came from enrolling in a immersive macaron making class. This past year, I coached a woman who was raising a $50MM fund. For the first time in her life, she was pitching for money from investors. We practiced her pitch every day for 2 weeks. She struggled. I asked her “What can you do outside of work, that gives you confidence?” She came up with swimming. She’s raised her first $20MM.

More Posts