Is a Lack of Executive Presence Holding You Back?

Take this assessment and find out

by MORE editors
executive presence image

1) You’re about to make a presentation to 20 higher-ups in your organization when you receive an irritating phone call from home. You:

a. Cancel the meeting. You are angry and no longer in the mood to present

b. Take a deep breath, walk into the meeting and present with composure and professionalism

c. Spend the first 30 minutes of the meeting complaining to attendees about the news you just received

2) You are conducting a workshop abroad. Most of the participants are well-versed in the subject matter, but one or two have little or no knowledge of the topic, and are not quite grasping the concepts you are introducing. They interrupt often to ask questions or request that you repeat yourself. You:

a. Ignore their questions, hoping they will eventually stop interrupting and catch up with the rest of the group

b. Become visibly annoyed

c. Request a short break so that you can address the participants’ questions individually 

3) You are attending an all-day business convention when you are asked, unexpectedly, to make a presentation. Although you are tired and would rather leave than speak, you acquiesce. In which scenario below does your body language communicate executive presence?

a. You stand before your audience yawning and fidgeting through a presentation

b. You request a chair be put on the stage and sit comfortably during your presentation

c. You smile, stand straight up and present your material energetically 

4) At a dinner reception honoring the leader of your organization you are seated at a table with executives who you do not know and who are having various conversations among themselves. Which is a good way to open conversation and show executive presence?

a. Initiate an off-the-cuff casual conversation to break the ice

b. Begin coughing loudly to make your presence known

c. Sit quietly and wait for someone to engage you in conversation 

5) Janice is in the running for a promotion to vice president of her organization. If selected, she must speak to a panel of superiors about her vision for the company, and be willing to participate in future group-speaking events.  Janice is shy, and when she speaks in public her voice tends to be low and quiver from nervousness. Which of the below will grab attention of her superiors and help Janice exemplify executive presence?

a. Not worry about it. Her performance speaks for itself—after all, it got her noticed for the promotion nomination

b. Be assertive when speaking in front of the panel—they will find her grace and substance an added quality for the promotion

c. Decline the nomination

6) You are so excited to have been invited to your company’s golf outing this year that you decide to buy a new outfit for the occasion. You’ll be the only woman there, and you want to be seen as a member of the team.Which outfit do you choose?

a. A short, flirty golf skirt that doesn’t make your thighs look too big

b. A pair of casual golf shorts and a collared T-shirt

c. The outfit in option b, but also a trendy pair of wedged–heeled sneakers in order to show off your personal fashionable side

7) Which of the below statements are true of executive presence?

a. To look like a leader you must be as close to perfect as possible in all areas

b. Appearance is superficial nonsense that only superficial folks tune into

c. How we look translates into having the judgment to know what is both appropriate and distinctive 

[Total Your Score: 1. a-2, b-3, c-1; 2. a-2, b-1, c-3; 3. a-1, b-2, c-3; 4. a-3, b-1, c-2; 5. a-2, b-3, c-1; 6. a-1, b-2, c-3; 7. a-2, b-1, c-3]

Your score

Less than 17: Poor to fair. But don't worry, EP can be learned! Utilize mentors, sponsors, role models and pointers in the book to burnish how you act, how you speak and how you talk.

14-17: You're on the right track! To bolster your EP use coaches and other external resources to get a more solid grasp of all three pillars (gravitas, communication and appearance).

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