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3 tips for improving your executive presence

Are you a talented, hard-working and intelligent professional who just can't seem to leverage your skills and experience to land that big promotion? According to business consultant Sylvia Ann Hewlett, you may be suffering from a lack of "executive presence."

Hewlett, who also founded the Center for Talent Innovation, is creating lots of buzz with her new book Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success. She argues that it's possible for anyone to attain that ineffable combination of traits known as executive presence. Hewlett tells The Wall Street Journal that anyone can advance their career by considering these three aspects of their professional persona: 

  • Appearance: While Hewlett considers this the least important factor of the three, she says that -- like it or not -- appearance acts as an initial filter to help your colleagues determine whether you possess executive presence. If you always have coffee spilled on your shirt, for example, you are unlikely to exude an air of capability. 
  • Communication: Use body language, eye contact and a strong speaking voice to share your knowledge and ideas with confidence. 
  • Gravitas: Hewlett tells Fast Company magazine that gravitas is about having the knowledge and expertise to command a room. Leaders with gravitas are also able to resolve stressful situations calmly and decisively. 

Hewlett also advises Wall Street Journal readers that it is crucial to be consistent whether you are at work or at home, on social media or on vacation. Be sure to select corporate stationery and business card paper that reflect your executive presence. We recommend a 100 percent cotton paper like our popular Savoy series, available in a range of colors, weights and sizes.